On a hot, hot day in Niamey, Niger there were a classroom full of 7 year old children!
“Imarou! Imarou! Look who is here!” the class teacher beamed with excitement.
Before anyone could locate Imarou, all the other pupils in the cramped classroom got up from their seats and gave a hearty formal greeting to the visitors, in unison and at attention.
“Good morning! We are fine and how are you,” they exclaimed—happy to put their English lessons to good use.
The teacher told the children to go back and take their seats as the excitement of seeing cameras and visitors added a buzz to the small classroom.
The happiest pupil in the room was Imarou, because he spotted his father in the crowd of visitors. He shared the same smile with his father Moussa, and he looked like he had an idea why he and the rest of the group was in his classroom. The spotlight was on Imarou as all his friends looked at him curiously.
Imarou was born with bilateral clubfoot. This means that both his feet were severely twisted inwards, and if they had not been treated, walking would have been difficult and in some cases, impossible. His story is one of transformation, and he has served as a testimony for the longest time. When Imarou was born, Moussa had big hopes for his son, but he developed depression when Imarou was born with clubfoot. This is because Moussa had never heard or seen clubfoot; he was worried his child would grow up disabled and become a beggar in the streets of Niamey.
Moussa shared their story and explained that the worst part was people coming to his house, not to congratulate him but to confirm the rumours that was his wife had given birth to a disabled child. For Moussa and Imarou, hope came through the Niger Clubfoot Program where Imarou received the Ponseti treatment. Moussa was dedicated in taking his son for all the appointments, and he started documenting his son’s journey using a series of photographs.
As time progressed and Imarou was wearing casts, Moussa became intrigued in the CURE Clubfoot programme that was healing his son’s clubfoot. He found himself asking questions and trying to find ways he could be a part of this programme. He took part in some of the many counselling programmes that were offered by CURE, and he became an official member of the team when he was made the Counselling Coordinator of the Niger Clubfoot Programme!
His first order of business was to start telling stories of hope to guardians and parents who came to different clinics with their child. He would show them pictures of his own son and show the progress that he was making. Moussa noticed that he was impacting more people by sharing photos of Imarou. He saw mothers stop crying after seeing photos of his son in treatment. As Imarou got older, Moussa started taking him along to different clubfoot clinics as a first-hand testimony.
It was an activity that brought the two closer together. Imarou knew his feet were special. Moussa believes that sometimes good things come out of what may seem like impossible situations. Moussa is happy with the treatment that they received with CURE and he is proud that his son is a graduate of the Ponseti treatment. His son will be able to graduate from school with both feet planted firmly on the ground.
This is why this occasion was a special one for Moussa and Imarou. They got to celebrate Imarou being in school with all of Pastor Moussa’s team in the Niger Clubfoot Program. For us, the best part was seeing Imarou in a classroom environment surrounded by all his friends! He has an equal shot at an education, in a classroom on the second floor with so many stairs leading up to it—stairs he would not have climbed with clubfoot. It was a chance for us to see how children get along after treatment. Imarou is a brilliant example of all the good that is happening in Niger!
Learn more about clubfoot and how you can get involved at cure.org/clubfoot.