A little girl gets new feet

A little girl gets new feet

A disabled girl was considered worthless until she was noticed by someone outside her family.


Inside a ‘tukol’, a typical South Sudanese clay home, a young baby was left to sleep as her mother went to run some errands.

Story by Thorkild Jørgensen. Photos by Nelson Deng. 

When six-month-old Imanya woke up alone, she became distressed and went searching for her mum. As she was crawling in the tukol, she somehow stumbled into the cooking fire and, her feet were so severely burnt that the staff at Tori hospital could do nothing to save them.

In traditional South Sudanese culture, a girl is seen as a blessing because of the large dowry paid to her family once she is married. However, a disabled person is regarded with disrespect and shame. Imanya suddenly became a ‘burden’ to her mother, and was kept inside, scolded and beaten.

Her feet were so severely burnt that the staff at
Tori hospital could do nothing to save them.

A few years later, Joseph Gamara, the founder of Airport View Primary School, was walking past the house when he heard the little girl being scolded by her mother and told that she was useless.

Profoundly moved, Joseph decided to get involved and began encouraging the family to accept their daughter and to see her as a child of God. He suggested that Imanya start going to school and, for the first time in her life, Imanya was allowed to play with other children.


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Airport View Primary school has a countercultural vision, and works to transform the surrounding communities through education and the Word of God. Many of the pupils at the school are orphans, children with disabilities and girls with little chance of education. Yet, the performance of the school is the best in Eastern Equatoria!

Imanya was able to join the other 1,563 children enrolled at Joseph Gamara’s school - but, her story does not end here. Contacting a clinic in Juba, Joseph applied to a Red Cross project which provides prosthetic limbs for children.

Finally, in May 2018, MAF had the privilege of flying Joseph and Imanya to Juba to get her new prosthetic feet fitted. Now aged six, Imanya has two new feet and is all smiles – refusing to even use crutches and joyously walking the 500-meter journey to school!


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