Claud’s story – Grade 3
It’s a sad fact that thousands of children in Africa and South Africa are living with amputations and without affordable access to adequate prosthetic solutions or rehabilitation. For many of us, it’s hard to imagine being born without limbs.
Let us introduce you to Claud. He joined The Kusasa Project Early Learning Centre in Grade R when he was 5 years old. Now in grade 3, Claud has already been on an incredible and inspirational journey. Claud was born without feet, knees or bones in the lower part of both legs.
A friend of one of our founders, also an amputee, advised to get in touch with Jumping Kids*, a charity organisation in Pretoria that helps children with missing limbs. After corresponding with the Founder of Jumping Kids Michael Stevens, himself a double amputee and an inspirational man, they agreed to provide funding for a pair of high-tech blades. The journey to increased mobility for Claud began!
Claud’s story started before his birth when his legs did not form properly in the uterus. The exact cause of his congenital limb defect is not known. When Claud was one year old he underwent his first ‘minor’ amputation of the lower part of his under legs in Tygerberg Hospital in Cape Town. Before he was discharged from the hospital, Claud’s mother suddenly died from a heart attack. As his father had never played a role in his upbringing, Claud’s grandparents and aunt raised him. He eventually, at the age of 4, found a caring and more permanent home with the niece of his mother, her husband and their two older children. They took him in shortly after Claud was operated on for the second time. Both his under legs had to be amputated completely. They raise him as one of their own, treating him as they do their other children.
His first prostheses, supplied by the State, were very basic and too uncomfortable to move around with. He used to take them off (with the help of others) and preferred to move around on his bum or ‘stompies’ (stumps). Claud could move around rather fast with the help of his hands. “I have new moves”, he would proudly tell you, alongside questions like: “Why am I so small?”
2020 finished on a high. Just before Christmas Claud received his blade legs from Jumping Kids, assembled and fitted by Lize-Mari Herbst from Chin and Partners.
Within only a month he could move with ease and comfort and a smile on his face. He tries to run, walks faster and his confidence has immensely grown. He is able to put the blades on and off by himself which makes him so much more independent.
A message from Marie-Louise Raymond, our Principal:
“Claud is a very energetic and happy boy. He has impeccable manners, there is never a moment that he will pass you without greeting or picking up some conversation. From the first day he started at our school the learners and staff were inspired by his go-for-it attitude and the joy that resonates within him. He makes learning fun and enjoyable and never gives up. It is easy to teach him and to be in his presence. I have never seen him give up or get tired with any task or challenge.”
Claud’s positive nature, his good health and the support of the beautiful people who took him in, helped him to be the impressive young boy he is today.”
Watch this heartwarming clip of Claud during our morning school dance session! …
* “At Jumping Kids, the dream is to provide affordable prosthetic solutions geared for optimum results while boosting awareness and advocating for change. It is not enough to merely fit a child with a prosthetic. We believe access to the equipment should translate into access to better education and sport.”