Kennedy has pulled off his biggest success yet and now walks like a champion
Kennedy has cerebral palsy. After years of being unable to stand or walk, orthoses and physiotherapy have allowed him to make spectacular progress.
Nine-year-old Kennedy can walk on his own like a grown-up. Uganda, June 2023. | © Crolle Agency / HI
Kennedy is a little boy with cerebral palsy from South Sudan. He and his family sought refuge in Uganda, where he was taken into HI’s care in 2020. HI has since provided him with orthoses and physiotherapy sessions. Three years later, the courage and determination of this little boy have enabled him to face up to his greatest challenge: he can now walk on his own.
Living with cerebral palsy in a refugee camp
In 2016, Kennedy was just nine months old when his family fled the conflict in South Sudan. Arriving in Uganda, they settled in the Rhino refugee camp in the Arua district in the north-west of the country. Kennedy lives there with his mother and two other children.
Kennedy had never had physiotherapy before. Although he could eat, drink and hear relatively easily, he could not speak or walk. Furthermore, his dexterity was limited and holding small objects was a real struggle for him.
Kennedy was identified by community volunteers in February 2020. After an assessment, HI’s teams enrolled him on the 3D Petra project, a revolutionary project that uses 3D-printing technology to produce custom-made orthoses and prostheses. The little boy was given bilateral dynamic orthoses for his ankles and feet.
Walking: a challenge taken up
In 2021, thanks to his orthoses and physiotherapy sessions with Paul Lokiru, a physiotherapist with HI, Kennedy was able to stand. He could move around with a walker and play with the other children. To ensure that the boy’s treatment continued, Paul taught Esther some physiotherapy exercises that she could do at home with her son.
Today, Kennedy can walk on his own without help. It’s a huge success for this little boy! He can also express himself, which allows him to communicate with his family and friends.
Thinking about the future
Kennedy has made tremendous progress, but he and his family do not intend to stop just yet. He must now work on his posture and learn to walk faster. As he grows, his orthoses will have to be replaced to adapt to his changing body shape. He will also have to go to school so that he can study.
Kennedy walks and plays football with his friends. In this refugee camp, with its extreme levels of poverty, hope is reborn every second. Children who don’t even have a ball to play football with twist plastic bags together to make their own ball. Kennedy is nurturing his dreams for the future: when he grows up, he will walk, run, and build houses.