Stories

Burned and abandoned, a little girl finds healing from an unlikely source.

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Gifti started off being shy, but that quickly changed. She is such a friendly girl! She loves playing with the other children and running around the ward. Gifti came to CURE Ethiopia with a burn contracture. Like most households in rural Ethiopia, people both cook and sleep in the same room. One day, Gifiti’s mother was preparing injera (the staple food in Ethiopia), and Gifti, six months old, fell into the fire, burning the right side of her face and her arm. The wound eventually healed but left her right arm immobile with her elbow and wrist stuck in permanently bent positions. 

To make matters worse, both of Gifti’s parents ended up passing in separate accidents. Gifti’s two sisters were adopted by extended family members, but none of them would take Gifti due to her disability. The family members didn’t try to find Gifti an orphanage and just abandoned her. She was left all by herself, in the shell of her familial home, to die or become someone else’s “problem.” 

Thankfully, Mulu, a woman from a local church, heard about Gifti’s plight. Mulu’s heart was drawn to Gifti, and she took Gifti into her home, where she was already raising four children on her own. It was a lot, but when the Lord places something on our hearts, we must follow. Mulu worked hard to give Gifti a warm home and a family who loves her. To Mulu, Gifti is not a problem, but a gift! “She (Gifti) has an attachment with Mulu, and that is helping her to discharge the feelings of what she went through in the past,” Tewodros, a CURE Ethiopia counselor, shared with us. 

Gifti is seven years old now, and this is the first hospital visit she has ever had for her burns. Mulu heard about CURE Ethiopia from a previous patient of ours and brought Gifti here. Gifti promptly received surgery and can now fully extend her arm! She still needs intense physical therapy to achieve full motion, but she is on a bright path. “I’m so happy my arm is straight now!” Gifti shared.

Gifti started school last year, and she loves going there. She hasn’t decided what she wants to do when she grows up, but for now, she loves learning, and her favorite subject is Amharic (the national language of Ethiopia). She used to hide her arm and wrist with long-sleeved shirts even when it was really hot, but thankfully, she doesn’t have to hide anymore! 

If you would like to give to support surgeries for children like Gifti, click here to learn more.