A young Black boy wearing a blue jacket and colorful crocs smiles while standing with a walker

Corrective surgery, rehabilitation opens doors for Jonathan

Jonathan, 7, lives with cerebral palsy. Through corrective surgery and follow-up rehabilitation services from Humanity & Inclusion, he is able to walk on his own.

Refugees from South Sudan, Jonathan lives with his mother, Angelina, in Nairobi. Since receiving surgery, Jonathan is also attending school for the first time.

At the suggestion of a Humanity & Inclusion physical therapist, Angelina took Jonathan to see an orthopedic specialist. He received corrective surgery to straighten his legs and make it possible for him to walk. After the operation, Jonathan received a walker, which he rarely needs now unless he walks long distances.

It’s been one year since Jonathan’s surgery. Since the operation, Humanity & Inclusion’s team has been providing at-home rehabilitation care to help Jonathan become more independent. Through rehabilitation sessions, he has strengthened his muscles and improved his balance.

“They help me climb stairs and play with a ball,” Jonathan explains.

Opportunity to learn

Jonathan’s face lights up when Faith Njiru, inclusive rehabilitation field officer for Humanity & Inclusion, visits his family’s home on a cool day in July. They bump fists and he giggles as Faith poses questions about school and his teachers. He answers confidently in English, a language he is just beginning to learn. When Faith asks who Jonathan’s best friend is, he jabs his finger in her direction without hesitation.

“After his surgery, we encouraged his mother to enroll him. Now that he can walk, he’s in school for the first time,” Faith explains.

Jonathan attends classes at a school where the restrooms and playground are accessible for children with limited mobility. Angelina has noticed a number of positive changes in her son.

“He loves reading, eating and playing on the slide at school,” she says.

As for Jonathan, he has big dreams for the future: “I want to be a pilot, so I can fly!”

These activities are funded by the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration.