Mozambique does a Jaipur tango

Jaipur, Nov 26: Florencia Castigo,18, had never heard of Jaipur, let alone Jaipur Foot. But this city will forever remain etched in her mind for it has not only given hope but secured her bleak future.

Florencia, a native of faraway African nation, Mozambique, lost her right leg in an accidental landmine blast two years ago. Since then she had had no hopes of walking again.

Florencia from village Macachula in Massinga district of Inhambane province in southern part of Mozambique, was a school student who accidentally entered the landmine zone that were laid during the Mozambique’s civil war in the Sixties.

Since independence from Portugal in 1975, Mozambique has been battered by civil war, economic mismanagement and famine. A peace deal in 1992 ended 16 years of civil war, and the country has made much progress in economic development and political stability.
These landmines lie underneath and hidden in various provinces of Mozambique. Some of these landmines are still alive. One of those blasted accidentally and Florencia lost her right leg which got blown away.

Florencia also received severe burn injuries on her left leg and on her hands and was treated in Mozambique.

But with no facility for fitting artificial limbs in Mozambique, she lost all hopes of walking ever again. She somehow managed with the help of crutches.

Poor and miserable, Florencia could not even think of going to any other country to get an artificial limb.

Till Mozambique’s Alternative Mine Action (ATM)’s Advertio Ismael and a US-based NGO Help One Walk (HOW) came to her aid and took on the challenge of rehabilitating her.

The two NGOs officials John Mullen and Douglas Bowman with the help of a US university-California Polytechnic University approached the BMVSS with the case of Florencia.

Founder and chief patron of the BMVSS, D R. Mehta examined the case and found that she could be fitted with Jaipur Foot.

Mehta told the HOW officials to send Florencia to Jaipur and assured free fitment of the artificial leg. Dr Pooja Mukul, who heads the prosthetic section of the Jaipur Foot took Florencia under her care and the technicians worked out the prosthetic for her.

Florencia came to Jaipur three days ago and today she was provided with a limb. Her two above knee limbs have been developed by Stanford University and was adjudged as the 50 best innovations by Time magazine.

Ecstatic, Florencia has started walking again from today. Obviously towards a better future!

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