When Megertu was younger, she didn’t realize she was different from other kids in her remote Ethiopian village—that is, until she went to school. “I mostly kept to myself because I thought I would never be able to do what other children my age did,” she says.
What was impossible for anyone to realize at the time was the unforgettable impact she would have on her village when she became a young woman.
Megertu was born with bilateral clubfoot, a debilitating congenital condition that caused both her feet to point inward and downward. In her rural Ethiopian farming village, there were very few options for the medical care she needed. So, Megertu’s condition persisted—preventing her from working the farm, keeping her isolated at school, and provoking ridicule from some in her community.
A Grandmother’s Persistence, A Life-changing Surgery
Megertu was not the only child in her village living with a treatable disability. Yet, when one of our partner organizations visited the community to find and refer children in need to CURE for surgery, most families, including Megertu’s, were fearful and suspicious that their children could be helped.
Megertu’s grandmother, who had been taking care of Megertu since her mother passed away, was determined to see her granddaughter receive the help she needed to walk. Megertu recalls, “My grandmother is the only one who was brave enough to bring me to CURE out of all the people in the community.”
Because of her grandmother, Megertu came to CURE Children’s Hospital of Ethiopia (CURE Ethiopia) to receive the surgeries that would change her life . . . and eventually impact her community.
Surgical treatment for clubfoot has a high success rate, especially when treated early in life, ideally shortly after birth. Though Megertu was 10 when she came to CURE, our skilled surgeons spent six years correcting her painful condition through multiple surgeries, procedures, and follow-up care. Support from CURE’s generous partners makes this possible at no cost to the family.
Megertu spent months at CURE Ethiopia, giving CURE’s ministry team time to introduce her to Jesus through Bible studies and storytelling. Megertu recalls, “[CURE] gave me a children’s Bible and showed me the Jesus film . . . I came to know about Christ.”
When Megertu returned home transformed–both inside and out–it served as a testimony to her community, and especially to parents who were initially hesitant to bring their children to CURE.
She says, “My family, schoolmates and teachers were in awe of my transformation. It brought tears to their eyes, and they were eager to find out where I got treated. It led to more children from my community going to CURE for treatment.”
This is how Megertu’s transformation opened the door for other children from her village to receive their own life-changing surgeries from CURE.
Making a Difference in the Future
Megertu, now 20 years old, is amazed that she walks like any other person her age. And she’s happy her life-changing surgery paved the way for other children with disabilities in her community to seek treatment.
At home, she returned to high school where she worked hard to catch up on the years she missed. At every opportunity, she continues to share the news about Jesus with her family and friends in the village.
Megertu hopes to continue influencing others by becoming a doctor and an advocate. “I want to fight for the rights of people with disabilities. I don’t want them to be mistreated or looked down upon because they have physical disabilities.”
All medical and ministry care is provided at no-cost to children and their families, made possible by the generous support of CURE partners and donors.