Daughter’s congenital condition inspired donation of prosthetics to amputees – Chigbu

Irede Foundation Executive Director Crystal Chigbu told OPEYEMI ADEFEMI that the foundation has distributed no less than 300 prostheses to child amputees since its inception in 2012.

How did you create the Irede Foundation?

Irede is my daughter’s middle name. Ireoluwade is the reason I started the foundation.

What was the motivation behind this?

My daughter is the inspiration behind the creation of the Irede Foundation. When I gave birth to her, she had a congenital limb defect and her leg had to be amputated. So, now that we distribute prostheses to child amputees, I decided to give his name to the foundation.

How old is Ireoluwade now?

She is 13 years old.

Did you discover the congenital disease during pregnancy or after birth?

During the pregnancy, even though we did some scans, we didn’t see anything until she was born.

How did you and your husband react to the situation then and what kind of help did you seek for Ireoluwade?

It was devastating for us. We went for medical assistance and we got different diagnoses and all the diagnoses pointed to the same thing. We finally decided to proceed with the amputation.

How much did it cost to get her help then?

I don’t remember exactly how many. We did the amputation first, then we gave him a prosthetic limb. It costs around 700,000 or N1m.

How is Ireoluwade now?

She’s very well. She swims, rides a bike. She’s in the boarding house, living her life to the fullest.

Was the Irede Foundation something you and your husband decided or agreed upon?

Absolutely yes. When I came up with the idea I asked my husband if it was okay for us to go ahead and share our story and help other people and he said that ‘He agreed. That’s when we moved forward to start the foundation.

How did you raise funds?

Initially, when the Irede Foundation started, it was only friends and family members who made donations to the foundation, so that these children could have members and go back to school, but after functioning for a few years we were able to get support from corporate organizations. , other people who saw what we were doing and were interested in the work. They all started giving to the foundation. We raise funds through individuals, organizations and donors.

How long has the foundation existed?

We started in 2012.

How many people have benefited from the foundation?

So far we have given over 300 members to children across Nigeria.

Is the foundation’s intervention limited to children only? Do you usually have a particular age group in mind?

For the members we donate, only children are beneficiaries, aged 1 to 18. We do not give free artificial limbs to those over 18. But our psychosocial program and awareness programs are open to everyone, regardless of age.

Is it only for children in Nigeria?

Today we give to children in Nigeria. However, we have started working on expanding to start giving to children across the rest of Africa.

What other benefits can people enjoy from the foundation?

A number of advantages. We have the psychosocial support for the parents of the children and even the children themselves to help their mental health and guide them. We also have a program for young people with disabilities for employment preparation and finally we do outreach and awareness programs for the community at large. We have our comic strip, The Radiance, which we use to teach children in schools between the ages of seven and 15 about the challenges that come with disabilities and how to overcome them and also to build relationships with people with disabilities in society. These are some of the other advantages we have.

How do parents and children feel when they receive the member?

They are happy, they are excited. The truth is, it’s a burden when you don’t have a limb. For a parent, bearing such a child is quite a burden. So when we do this intervention, naturally it brings such relief and the parents and children are generally happy and as an organization we are always excited about it too.

Is there a particular instance of giving such a member that you find most memorable?

Hmmm, I won’t say that there is one that outweighs the other. At the end of the day what is memorable for me is when a child comes in and is sad and when the child gets a limb and leaves, the child and the family are excited. It’s the memory that keeps coming back to mind and it’s something that goes through all the children.

Do you have people working with you at the foundation? How many?

We have on average about seven key employees at the foundation who do different things, from programs to operations to communications. Our job is to ensure that children with limb deformity can live their lives fully and diligently.

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