For the first time Happyness is smiling at us at eye level. So far, she has only spent her life from the ground. She has always had to look far up at the people around her. Everyday life has always taken place above her head. Carried by her mother, the young girl could never move independently. Yet she bears a beautiful name that could not better describe her character.
Happyness, translated as the cheerful one, has never lost her radiant smile despite all these circumstances. The girl was born with a spinal cord defect, spina bifida. She was never able to use her legs. The necessary physiotherapy was missing, so that her hip and also her legs as well as her spine stiffened at an early age.
The girl was never able to sit alone or to bend her hips, her legs are fixed in an unnatural cross posture and cannot be stretched. The girl can only lie flat on her stomach. During the day, the now 12 year old is carried around by her mother in a special sling.
And most of the day she lies in a corner on the floor of the domestic hut.
Surgical help comes too late for the little girl, as surgery at this advanced stage would be too risky for her.
Happyness has never been to school, but lying on her stomach she paints beautiful pictures of a world where she could play with other girls, go to school or learn a trade. For several years now, Happyness has been coming regularly to Haydom with her mother for follow-up care. Here the team takes care of her wounds and also her bladder function.
For a long time, our hands were tied and we lacked ideas on how to make her daily life easier and give her access to the world and education. A wheelchair seemed like a perfect solution, however Happyness cannot sit or be placed in a seated position without suffering severe pain.
Working with CCBRT, a local Tanzanian rehabilitation association, we put our heads together and designed a custom reclining wheelchair for Happyness to lie prone on. Haydom-Friends e.V. financed the production and purchase of the special wheelchair made of locally manufactured materials. The first test drive with her new wheelchair moved all of us, who had been desperately searching for a solution for this girl for so long, to tears. Happyness took the first “self-determined meters” into her new life. Again accompanied by a brave big smile on her face. We all hope now that this new freedom will also give her the opportunity to attend school.
Happyness story shows how important is especially your help, without which we could never have realized this. It shows that limits and obstacles should always motivate us to look for solutions instead of resigning ourselves to the seemingly impossible.
Happyness needs further financial support for school supplies and annual school fees. If you would like to help or contribute, please feel free to do so through the association’s donation account, subject: Happyness.
Thank you very much.