Aruwa gains mobility and stays safe from COVID-19

Aruwa is six years old. She lives with her mother, her uncle, and her siblings in the Kakuma refugee camp. Her mother does not work, and the family is completely dependent on humanitarian organizations. On top of their daily struggles, the family is also worried about Aruwa's health. The little girl has developed genu valgum, a deformity of the lower limbs. Her legs were bowed which made it difficult for her to move and run around with other children.

That is, until she met Humanity & Inclusion. Our team arranged for Aruwa to have surgery, and since then, her life has changed drastically. With support from Stella, Humanity & Inclusion’s physical therapist, she can now move around on crutches. After each rehabilitation session with our team, Aruwa becomes more and more self-reliant.

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Aruwa's physical therapist also teaches her how to protect herself from COVID-19.

Today, Aruwa was invited to our rehabilitation center for a different reason: a COVID-19 prevention session. Stella teaches her how to wash her hands, wear a mask, and apply social distancing rules. The Kakuma refugee camp has not slipped under the pandemic’s radar. Quite the opposite. The overcrowding, lack of hygiene, equipment, and resources to fight the spread of the disease are aggravating risk factors.

"I first heard about COVID-19 on the radio and when HI's physical therapist came to our home to treat Aruwa,” says Crouch Abdalla, Aruwa’s uncle who accompanies his niece to the center. “It's a serious disease that spreads very quickly. I haven't met anyone infected by it in the camp yet, but I know it kills a lot of people and I don't want anyone in my family or community to get it.”

The pandemic makes life in the refugee camp even more difficult and precarious. 

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, life in the Kakuma refugee camp has been increasingly tough. "I arrived from Sudan in August 2014 and have been living here ever since,” her uncle continues. “We are always short of water and sometimes we have to fetch it from the neighboring camp, which is far from here. We drink even more now to protect ourselves.

Many agencies have closed because of COVID-19, and it is difficult to find work and supplement our supplies, eat a balanced diet and find clothes for the family. It is incredibly stressful. I hope that after the end of the pandemic, when they lift the restrictions on our movements, we can go to work again, and the children can go back to school. I’m glad Humanity & Inclusion has been able to continue its work here and that Aruwa still benefits from the rehabilitation services. I really value the fact that she can do her exercises once a week, just like before! I also appreciate the information and training we receive from the HI team on COVID 19. It’s extremely useful!"

Aruwa knows exactly what she wants to do after COVID-19. 

"When the pandemic is over, I want to go back to school and learn, because when I grow up, I want to massage and rehabilitate other people. I also want to be able to play with my friends again like I used to," she says shyly but with determination.

Focus on the most vulnerable 

As COVID-19 takes aim at our planet's most vulnerable neighbors, Humanity & Inclusion donors ensure that people with disabilities, people with injuries from conflict, children, women, and especially older people have the information--and even the soap--they need to stay healthy. Learn more about Humanity & Inclusion's vast COVID-19 response.

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