Lucee is nine years old and lives in a little house on a steep hill a few miles outside of Freetown, the capital of Sierra Leone, with her two siblings and her mother. Lucee is an upper arm amputee and has been part of the ELoH child amputee project in Sierra Leone for the past two years, benefiting from school support, surgery and counselling.
When Lucee was two years old, she was playing with her sister, when a tall mirror came off the wall and fell on top of the girls. Her sister was unhurt, but Lucee sustained serious cuts on her arm. Her family couldn’t agree on whether to try traditional remedies from a faith healer or if they should take her to hospital. Eventually, her mother’s persistence won out and she brought her young daughter to the emergency room – sadly, an infection had developed and Lucee’s arm had to be amputated to save her life.
Seeing his daughter return an amputee, Lucee’s father blamed her mother and the hospital care she had chosen and left the family. Today, he lives in a different city and is only in contact infrequently. Their father’s leaving hit the family hard, financially and emotionally, and Lucee often felt like she was to blame. Without his support Lucee’s mother, too, often felt desperate and struggled to feed her children – schools fees were out of the question.
Things took a turn for the better when Lucee’s grandma heard about the ELoH project and ensured that Lucee was enrolled. When we met her in October 2016 during a project visit, her older sister Georgette had just picked her up from school and Lucee was looking forward to playing with the little pet cat their mother allows the siblings to keep.
Last term, Lucee was fourth in her class in English and second in Science and it is immediately evident how bright she is. She loves studying and is delighted that she has been able to go to school since joining the ELoH project. When she is grown up, Lucee wants to be an engineer. In addition to ELoH’s school support which makes it possible for Lucee to dream big, she has also received surgery to address a recurring infection in her stump. Today, Lucee says, she is no longer in pain – for the first time since losing her arm.
Last, but certainly not least, Lucee’s family has also benefited from family counselling. The regular sessions with a social worker have made a real difference to the happiness of Lucee, her mum and siblings, who now look towards the future with confidence and, most importantly, as one family.
Your generous support has made this life-changing support possible. If you would like to help more children like Lucee, please consider donating here.