CURE International boasts three main areas of focus: medical healing, spiritual healing, and the training up of national healers. The first two areas are highlighted in our mission statement to heal the sick and proclaim the kingdom of God. They’re mentioned repeatedly in how we talk about what we do. Training tends to get much less play time, but not because it’s unimportant or doesn’t happen. Training is simply less visibly and emotionally exciting than seeing a kid take her very first steps or hearing about a family coming to faith in Christ.
While training may be harder to illustrate, it is a necessary corner in our triangle of focus. To sustainably heal the sick and proclaim the kingdom around the world, we need to be continually investing in the skills and qualifications of our local staff. We are a network of hospitals and programs that span 29 countries, each with its own culture and worldview. It is a constant battle for our foreign staff to interpret the subtle cultural nuances that come naturally to our local staff. The future of CURE’s ability to heal the sick and proclaim the kingdom in these countries rests in the hands of our local staff. It is for this reason that training is of such great importance to us.
So, with great pleasure, we here at CURE Niger would like to take a moment and boast about one of our own, Saleye, who has recently returned as a fully-trained and qualified Assistant Physical Therapist. Saleye was sent out nine months ago to attend a physical therapy center in Burkina Faso. CURE Niger paid her salary and tuition these nine months and we are thrilled she has rejoined our family!
Saleye started out working for a local orthopedic organization as a Clubfoot Coordinator. She was tasked with making the clubfoot braces worn by children after going through the non-invasive ponsetti casting procedure. This is the same procedure used at CURE Niger. Saleye worked closely with the organization’s physical therapists and, over time, began to assist them as part of her regular duties.
Unfortunately, the organization she worked for folded several years ago. So, Saleye made the natural transition to CURE Niger. Saleye spent several years serving the children of Niger as an assistant to our physical therapist. She lovingly assisted in the constant cajoling and comforting of children that goes on in our physical therapy room. She worked under the supervision of our physical therapist and was slowly learning the “dos” and “don’ts” of physical therapy.
Several years into her time with us, Saleye was approached by Brian Van Hall (then Executive Director, now Chief Operating Officer) with a simple question. Brian wanted to know how he could help her advance. He told her to think on it, pray on it, and get back to him. Saleye did so and returned to Brian with a request for more training. She was gaining confidence in her skills, but wanted to understand the theory behind what she had been instructed to do.
Saleye’s request was approved, and nine months ago she left us to begin her training. Niger does not have any institutions that can provide the necessary education, so Saleye temporarily moved her life to the neighboring country of Burkina Faso. CURE Niger worked it out to pay both Saleye’s tuition and her salary in order that her family would not suffer a loss of an income for nine months.
Now, Saleye has returned! She has transitioned from Assistant to the Physical Therapist to a full-fledged Assistant Physical Therapist. She is proud of the trust CURE has put in her, and she works with newly-found confidence.
“I would observe before, but now I understand and I can contribute so much more,” she says.
When asked about her feelings regarding the whole process, she says she is “endlessly thankful” and attributes everything back to the seemingly innocuous question asked by Brian. At CURE, we believe investing in training for people such as Saleye. It is not only an investment in our staff, but in the lives of the children we serve and the future of Niger.