Salamatou knows from experience how important it is for families at CURE to experience a comforting word, a joyful smile, a quiet prayer, and even a bit of fun in the playroom.
Before Salamatou joined our team as a Child Mentor, she was a worried mom bringing her son into CURE Niger for treatment. While they were in the ward and during subsequent visits for bandage changes and follow up appointments, Salamatou remembered being impressed about how intentional and invested the CURE Niger staff were with the children. “I really liked that,” she recalls.
Not long after Salamatou’s visits to the CURE hospital ended, CURE Niger had an opening for a Child Mentor to join the team. Salamatou saw this as an opportunity to volunteer in the open position. After volunteering for two months, CURE Niger approached her about continuing as a paid intern, which eventually led to her being a full-time Child Mentor. She was thrilled to spend time investing in and sharing the love of Jesus with the children we serve.
Spending every day with CUREkids and their parents opens the doors for wonderful ministry opportunities. In Niger, 99% of the country is non-Christian. As part of the spiritual staff, Salamatou is able to spend time forming relationships with parents and especially children. The concept of Christianity is quite foreign to most Nigeriens, but many are drawn to Salamatou’s spirit of joy. She models the love of Jesus every day. And, when a door is open to share the gospel, she walks through it.
Salamatou presents the gospel in a variety of ways, always trying to make it accessible and fun. She organizes playtimes, which often include singing, a Bible lesson, and a Bible story coloring page. Just recently, she taught some of the older girls about the story of Namaan and his servant girl. This young servant girl’s faith in God led Namaan on a path to discovering the Lord and ultimately to be healed of leprosy. The story is impactful to CUREkids because it is about a young girl who was used by God and talks about a disease that sets a person apart from society something CUREkids know all too well.
Another way Salamatou presents the gospel is by using Nigerian Christian movies and music videos. Nigeria, which neighbors Niger, has a large Christian population and is the center of the African movie industry, lovingly referred to as “Nollywood.” By using these Christian films and music, Salamatou can present the gospel in ways the patients and their families can easily understand! In fact, when CUREkids are discharged, they bring these Christian stories and songs home with them! We regularly hear stories of how patients teach the children in their village the songs and lessons they learned while at CURE Niger.
When it comes down to it, the children trust Salamatou and listen to her because she has a childlike quality. She is quick to give love, to forgive, and to trust.She plays with them. She laughs with them. Above all else, she seeks God with them. We are blessed to have caring staff members, like Salamatou, working with patients and families while demonstrating our core values at CURE hospitals.
About CURE International
CURE International is a Christian nonprofit organization that operates a global network of pediatric surgical hospitals, which serve one of the world’s most marginalized and vulnerable populations – children with disabilities. Patients at CURE hospitals suffer from orthopedic, neurosurgical, and maxillofacial conditions that limit their mobility/functionality and opportunities for education and employment. In addition to world-class clinical service, CURE intentionally ministers to the emotional and spiritual needs of patients in its care and invests in training programs that aim to equip the next generation of health workers and strengthen national health care systems. Since inception, CURE has conducted more than 5.3 million patient visits and 330,000 surgical procedures around the world. For more information, visit https://cure.org/.