Monica is a 17-year-old girl with dreams of starting her own business. “When I get better I would like to join a tailoring class and later on start my own tailoring business,” she told the staff at our partner hospital in Tanzania.
Currently, Monica is struggling to complete her education in Tanzania due to genu valgus, a condition also known as “knock knees.” This means Monica’s knees bend inwards and touch when she is standing straight, and she “is unable to walk without knocking her knees,” shares our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation (AMHF). “She often feels pain in her right knee and when the pain is severe, Monica has to use crutches to move from one point to another.”
Monica has been dealing with this condition since she was in primary school. AMHF says, “The condition affected her ability to walk the long distance to school, and when the pain in her knee was severe she had to miss school.” She also had to stop participating in sports that she used to enjoy, like netball and her school’s marathon team.
Monica’s parents earn income for their family of five by farming and running a small kiosk selling drinks and snacks. However, “Their income is not sufficient to cover the cost of their daily expenses as well as the operation which Monica needs,” reports AMHF. “If not treated, Monica will continue to be in pain and her gait will never improve.”
Fortunately, for $940 Monica can receive the surgery, cast, and physical therapy necessary to heal her legs. After her operation, “Monica will be able to walk without knocking her knees,” and will thus have an “Improved gait and ability to efficiently perform various activities,” AMHF adds.