Dreams are coming true this World Clubfoot Day

May 17, 2024

Read part one of Marouane’s transformation story: A Miracle in the Works for Marouane

When Yassine Nhammi and Tarik Edkisse, physiotherapists and founders of Association Premier Pas, MiracleFeet’s partner in Morocco come for their first visit, three-year-old Marouane shyly peeks out at them from behind his mother. Youssef, Marouane’s father, overjoyed at what this visit means for his son, is visibly thrilled to see the arriving guests and greets them warmly with two kisses on each cheek. He invites them in for tea, and as they enter, Youssef shares how eagerly his family has been awaiting their arrival.  

Inside, the group sips tea in the living room, a congenial space with colorful pillows and brightly patterned rugs. Marouane’s parents share that they felt helpless when they first found out about his clubfoot. While the adults talk, Marouane warms up to the visitors eventually relishing the attention from Yassine as he unties the bandage to examine Marouane’s foot.  

“Especially in the winter the bandages quickly become wet,” shares Marouane’s mother, Fatima. “And he can’t wear shoes,” she adds sadly.   

Yassine himself learned about Marouane’s clubfoot through a series of coincidences. Just one comment amidst small talk with a nearby shop owner while traveling through the area is what eventually led to Marouane’s family learning that there was a treatment for his condition. While this was thrilling news, the family had no idea where to find treatment or how to navigate an unfamiliar and overwhelming health system. Their home is 267 miles, a 6.5-hour drive, from the closest clubfoot clinic in Fes. And the family assumed the cost of treatment would be too high, not to mention that Youssef would have to take a full day off his construction job to take Marouane back and forth to weekly clinic appointments – time away from work that he couldn’t afford. 

“Before you came, we had no hope that he would be treated,” shares Fatima. “And then you came! We noticed a difference after the first cast.”  

It was pure happenstance – and Yassine’s dedication to treating children with clubfoot – that brought Premier Pas to Marouane’s doorstep. If Yassine hadn’t stopped at that shop and mentioned his work to the owner, who happened to know of Marouane’s condition, then it’s likely Marouane would have grown up with all the limitations that accompany untreated clubfoot.  

“We have a lot of children in the same situations as Marouane,” shares Yassine “families who don’t have access to treatment and who live far from clinics. We know that we can’t help every child, but we hope we can help most of them, and one day find a solution for all of them.”  

More than 800 children are born with clubfoot each year in Morocco. MiracleFeet, in partnership with Association Premier Pas, supports treatment at 11 clinics throughout the country. Typically, the Premier Pas team would not travel so far to treat one child, but fortune smiled on Marouane and his family and the team was able to make regular trips to change his cast and ensure everything was progressing smoothly. However, there are still great distances between clinics and accessing care is difficult if not impossible for many families who live in rural areas. 

“After we finished the treatment, the Premier Pas team was so happy to see Marouane running and witness the smiles of the whole family,” shares Tarik. “It’s all the inspiration we need to continue treating more children.”

A Boy’s Dream to Wear Shoes: Part 2

After three months of treatment Marouane’s foot is fully corrected and he wears a brace at night to prevent relapse. When he wakes in the morning, he’s cranky at first, eager to take the brace off, but soon he’s all smiles. Today is a special day – the first day he will wear not one but two brand new shoes. Marouane fittingly wears a shirt with a lightning bolt as his parents proudly help him don his new shoes. He immediately runs off, smiling, blissfully unaware of what his life would have been like had he never received treatment. He’s only looking ahead, into the sunny town square, and the bright future that awaits him.

No child’s future should be left to chance

Too often it seems that the stars themselves must align for children with clubfoot born in low- and middle-income countries to find the care they need. MiracleFeet exists to ensure that all children have access to treatment.

World Clubfoot Day is a day to celebrate and increase awareness about clubfoot to ensure that every child born with clubfoot, no matter where they are born or what their circumstances, can access the care they deserve. Join us on this international day of celebration to educate, advocate, and commit to creating a world free of untreated clubfoot.

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ensures children like Marouane—and every child born with clubfoot—receive the care they need to walk, run, attend school, and enjoy their childhood. 

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