Basirat’s “Ogi” was cold but she didn’t care. English test today! She liked English especially because she could hear her teacher say the words “immense potential” about her, even though she couldn’t quite understand what those words meant.
Growing up in Agege where her family and neighbours only spoke Yoruba, she was happy that she could actually learn to understand the words in those discarded newspaper pages used as “boli” wrappers.
That morning, Basirat had a quick shower, grabbed the nylon bag that held her books and rushed out of the room she shared with her grandmother. She almost ran into Kafaya, her neighbour and classmate in her hurry to get out.
“Ahan! Kilo de? Why are you rushing like this?” Kafaya asked with a mouth full of toothpaste.
“I don’t want to be late for our test oh. Kafaya, you have not even had your bath yet!” Basirat screeched.
Kafaya frowned as she spat out toothpaste.
“Ah! It’s just 7 o’clock. Am I the one that will go and open the school gate? This your busy body na wa. I don’t know why you are so serious about this school matter. You and I know that you will not finish school because your grandmother has not even finished feeding you sef not to talk of paying school fees.” Kafaya glared at Basirat.
“That is a lie! I must finish school. Allah will provide my school fees” Basirat returned vehemently.
Kafaya let out a mocking laugh and started to walk away but not without retorting: “You are dreaming and I will be here when you wake up, you hear? Oya akowe, go and open the gate o“.
Basirat shook her head and left for school. Minutes later she was skipping along, humming the words of Korede Bello’s song – God win, as she tried to cross the road. She felt the whole world spin and then she was lying in a puddle on the other side of the road. Her bag of books was torn and the books were muddied and soaked through. The motorcycle that just hit her still spun it’s wheels in the gutter.
Then she felt the pain. The sharp, shearing pain that made her cry, made her depressed. Left her with a broken leg.
She broke her left leg and was taken to a traditional bone-setter. Three days later, her leg got infected and eventually had to be amputated. No more English classes, no more teasing Kafayat, just life as a girl with crippled dreams in Agege.
Basirat smiles more often these days though. She likes to say that she feels like a new person and is back in school, where she belongs. Her grandmother no longer has to worry about school fees or even the bills involved in getting Basirat moving again.
As part of its commitment to help its communities to #NeverStop #MovingForward, Stanbic IBTC, in partnership with The Irede Foundation, is fitting underserved child amputees with prosthetics.
Taking care of child amputees gets expensive really quickly for their families as the prosthetics, where available, have to be changed regularly because the child quickly outgrows them or wears them out while playing. Stanbic IBTC’s #OutForALimb project, in partnership with The Irede Foundation, helps alleviate some of the pressure on the families and the children. Stanbic IBTC will also set up educational trusts for them to ensure that children like Basirat never have to stop school.
There will be a walk with the children in Lagos on Saturday, 14th of November, 2015 to raise awareness about the 1.5 million Nigerian child amputees without prosthetics.
You can find out more about the initiative by checking Stanbic IBTC’s social media platforms and on the day, you can follow the hashtag #OutforaLimb on Twitter & Instagram to see pictures from the Walk and to do your part in ensuring that these children aren’t invisible.