Super Mum: Crystal Chigbu Making Prosthetic Limbs For Nigerian Children
Crystal Chigbu is a mum who makes prosthetic limbs for Nigerian children. Inspired by her own experience and through her Irede Foundation, she also raises awareness on disability in Nigeria
For Crystal Chigbu, making prosthetic limbs for Nigerian children, was something she started after the birth of her daughter Beulah in 2009. It was what spurred her to do something positive about the way disability cases are perceived in Nigeria.
Crystal Chigbu: The mum making prosthetic limbs for Nigerian children
At the birth of Beulah, the doctors told Crystal that her daughter was born with a rare leg condition. This meant that her daughter’s right leg would have to be cut off. At first, Chigbu and her husband did not want the leg cut off and this made little Beulah crawl about instead of walking. But when Beula got her first prosthetic limb, Chigbu began to talk more about children living with disabilities. Crystal set out to change things when she found out that people didn’t talk a lot about disability in Nigeria.
Crystal Chigbu started a foundation called The IREDE Foundation (TIF). Since many Nigerians know little about losing a leg or hand and its causes, the aim was to educate and help children living with the kind of loss her daughter lives with.
Crystal says that the first time someone saw her daughter they said she couldn’t run. A teacher said she couldn’t swim, and a coach told her she won’t be able to swim because she has one leg. Later, her daughter started to do all those things. And her smiles made Crystal want to bring the same smile to the faces of other kids. At the lab, they began to customise prosthetics for children. It helped that they could re-make already used prosthetics for children, so this helped cut down cost.
Crystal Chigbu’s Vision
Furthermore, Crystal refuses to see every disabled person as just a charity case. They are more than that, and so is Beulah, who has the energy to swim and even ride a bicycle. Also, Beulah finds joy in the fact that other children are getting the same opportunity she has. To her, disability doesn’t mean a part of someone is missing. It just means that a body part is missing and one can make the most of it. “For other boys and girls out there, I feel like we’re perfect the way we are and God made us for a purpose,” she says.
Finally, meeting parents and showing them what is possible through pictures like that of kids swimming makes Crystal want to do even more than she is already doing. She believes that if one child’s life can be changed, then a million kids can experience the same thing.
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