A year ago, we reported the launch of Jumping Kids, a non-profit initiative created to bring prosthetic technology to the amputee children of Sub-Saharan Africa. Now, with their first tentative ‘leaps’ behind them, Jumping Kids is geared for the next level!
“The scope of the need that exists, combined with the achievements of our Jumping Kids and an increase in public interest, led to the decision to streamline processes, formulate an inclusive policy, and embark on a strategy that focuses on providing prosthetics and educating the public,” says Johan Snyders, founding member of Jumping Kids.
Five year-old Emile Burger has developed at the same pace as his twin thanks to Icexpress’ prosthetic technology. Emile received his first prosthetic aged 18 months and plays rugby, cricket, horse riding, athletics and swimming. His prosthetics need adjusting every 6 months.
Precocious Mpho Maduwane (right) received her first legs in November 2008 and her second pair of feet - to compensate for growth - in December 2009. She is nine, learning to walk and excited about shopping for new shoes and learning to run “just like Oscar”.
Muhammad Saib (13), started at Pretoria Boys High this year, and recently told Carte Blanche that he “endeavours to do everything able-bodied kids of his age are doing”. Muhammad won a Gold medal in the F57 Boys 16 Shot put event at the 2010 Nedbank National Championships.
Junior Mavuso (15), is a Gr. 8 student at Muriel Brand School in Brakpan. After losing his leg in an accident at the age of three, Junior struggled for years with state-issued prosthetics until, through the combined efforts of the Brakpan community and the Jumping Kids Fund, he received his new-technology prosthetic in January 2010. Two months later he won Gold in each of his field events (F44 Boys 16 Discus, Javelin and Shot putt) at the Nedbank National Championships.
Jumping Kids now has a seven-step process that includes identifying, evaluating and selecting children who qualify; manufacture and fitting of prosthetics as well as rehabilitation; educating of stakeholders (from the kids to government agents); monitoring and documenting each Kid’s progress and development; and sharing these stories to inspire more children.
As Snyders explains, “There are no exact statistics focused on our amputee-community but, through personal observation, I can tell you there are more child-amputees in South Africa than in all of Europe. At the Hope School in Johannesburg alone there are eight young amputees requiring prosthetics. Jumping Kids is entering an exciting new phase focused on addressing societal misconceptions through various education and advocacy campaigns and we invite everyone to participate”.