ELoH was founded by the Hope family in 2011, after experiencing a terrible bus collision in which their daughter, Pollyanna Hope, lost her leg, aged just two years old. Life is still tough for the Hopes, as new issues arise relating to Pollyanna’s amputation as she grows. Yet despite her struggles, the care available to Pollyanna has enabled her to live a bright and active life. Through having access to first class hospitals, surgeons and prosthetics, Pollyanna can now walk, play and go to school, just like her friends.
However, thousands of amputees in less developed countries do not receive the help or support they need, and desperately lack access to good quality medical assistance and education. As a result, they face life-threatening infections, do not have access to education, and are isolated from society – making them some of the most vulnerable children in the world.
ELoH’s mission is to help vulnerable child amputees tackle some of their unique challenges:
- As child amputees grow, they need new prosthetic limbs to adjust to their changing height – ELoH provides new prosthetics for all our beneficiaries until they stop growing
- The bones remaining in child amputees’ stumps also continue to grow after amputation. This can be very painful and requires surgery at least twice while a child is growing to avoid life-threatening infections – ELoH provides surgery and after-care for all our beneficiaries until they stop growing
Stigma, and lack of access to education
- Amputee children in many parts of the world face stigma and prejudice as a result of their disability. This is often due to complex social, economic and cultural factors. For example, parents struggling to make ends meet are sometimes forced to use their disabled child to beg. In other cases, amputees are socially stigmatised following the aftermath of civil war
- This often leads to the children having little self-worth, and causes them to miss out on school, their most important lifeline out of poverty – ELoH provides counselling for our beneficiaries and their families to help them overcome the devastating effects of stigma. For our projects in Sierra Leone and Liberia, we also cover the costs of one year’s education for every child
- All of the amputees we support also come from very poor families, who cannot afford to sustain school fees – For our projects in Sierra Leone and Liberia, ELoH provides business grants and financial advice for the families of every child we help, so they are able to cover future educational payments
- Child amputees are also sometimes physically unable to attend school, due to the long walk from home each day – ELoH provides prosthetics and mobility devices to make mobility easier, and works with each family on a case by case basis to ensure that access to school is physically possible