The Action Foundation (TAF)’s Ibuka program was established to enhance the livelihoods, dignity and resilience of under served women and girls with disabilities. During a follow up visit to one of our partner schools, we sought to check on the progress of mentees in the program and identify the most needy cases that can benefit from sponsorship for their secondary school education.
When The Action Foundation team visited the secondary school , we were introduced to a one of newly enrolled mentees, Angelina (not her real name) , a Form 2 student. TAF’s team was touched by her story after interacting with her in person and realized just how self- conscious, soft spoken and shy she is. We were later informed that Angelina was born with a medical condition known as Hirschsprung disease which prevents bowel movements (stool) from passing through the intestines due to missing nerve cells in the lower part of the colon. It is caused by a birth defect.
The condition has affected Angelina’s self-esteem over the years and makes her hold back in interacting with people. Maria Omare, TAF’s Founder and Executive Director, reached out to the organization’s board of directors and supporters and shared Angelina’s plight. Poonum Wilkhu, TAF’s Board chair, in turn posted a call for help by reaching out to her networks. Angelina who is wheel chair bound has experienced rejection and neglect because of her stoma, yet the materials for her care are expensive. She requires 3 stoma bags per week and this has taken a toll on her caregivers’ finances as they have to part with 150$ on average every month for her colostomy care materials.
Coloplast responded immediately to Poonum’s call for help and went the extra mile to not only supply her with stoma bags but also arrange her ongoing care. TAF and Coloplast connected Angelina to a medical center, where she was assessed at no cost. It comes as a relief that after sharing the plight of Angelina, Coloplast purposed to help and availed 4 months supply of the colostomy bags and materials required for management of her condition. Coloplast is committed to avail further supplies to Angelina as required. She is also benefiting from TAF’s scholarship for her secondary education and mentorship in Lifeskills and Leadership skills. The future for Angelina is truly bright and she is destined for greatness when she completes her secondary school education in two years time.
It is such stories of hope that keep us going at TAF. Knowing that we played our part in promoting the dignity of Angelina in view of her condition, fills our heart with warmth even as we continue to work relentlessly to ensure children and young people with disabilities have the opportunity to thrive. We extend our sincere gratitude to the entire team at Coloplast for heeding our call for help and shining the light towards a brighter future for Angelina. Asante Sana- Thank you Coloplast.