Laraha is a 15-year-old boy who lives with his family in Tanzania. He is the fourth of ten children, and he loves singing traditional songs and dancing. Laraha has been herding cattle ever since he was a little boy and has never attended school.
Recently, Laraha has been experiencing some knee pain after long days of herding cattle. He usually feels pain in the evenings when he is relaxing. It has also become difficult for him to run because his legs bow inwards and his knees knock when he runs.
Laraha’s condition—known as genu valgus—is part of the normal growth and development of the legs and typical resolves on its own by age seven or eight. However, in some children, underlying bone disease prevents straightening of one or both legs and contributes to the strain of the involved knee joints.
To improve his gait and reduce the risk of developing osteoarthritis at a young age, Laraha needs corrective surgery known as an osteotomy. During the surgery, doctors will remove a wedge of bone from each upper leg and attach pins, a rod, or a metal plate and screws to close the gap and straighten the leg.
Laraha’s parents raise livestock and earn just enough to cover the family’s basic needs. With such a large family to support, coming up with enough cash for Laraha’s corrective surgery has been difficult. $940 pays for Laraha’s surgery as well as three pre- and post-surgical consultations, three days of hospital care, physiotherapy, medicine, and a three-month-stay at The Plaster House for recovery and rehabilitation.
“I hope my legs will be straight like before so that I can continue to herd cattle,” shares Laraha.