week #4: 100$ for making miracles

We’ve made it through a couple of hard-giving weeks but this week we’re back on track to hear from a cause that used our #give10 donation last year to help a child born with club feet to walk. An amazing 10$ investment I think.

When I first learned about miraclefeet’s work to provide low-cost, non-surgical treatment for children born with club feet I got really excited. You see, back when I lived on a hospital ship in West Africa I met lots of kids being treated for clubfoot. I’ll never forget the day when I visited one of these kids in Sierra Leone a couple of years later and she RAN up to give me a hug.

Seems crazy, but almost one in every 750 children in the world are born with club feet. In the world most of us live in, treatment of club feet through manipulation starts days after birth and is quickly reversible. In the rest of the world, lack of treatment means these same kids grow up with a stigmatizing disability and limited ability to walk and enjoy healthy, productive lives.

Walking is something I take for granted every single day, and I’m guessing you probably do too. I’m giving this week’s 100$ here, because there is no doubt in my mind that treating a child with club feet can radically make a difference in the world of a child.

We caught up recently with the amazing Chesca Colloredo-Mansfeld, the woman behind miraclefeet who is on a mission to ensure that all kids born with club feet have access to the treatment they need to live productive and healthy lives. We asked her to #give10 answers about how miraclefeet is making a difference in the world, and how small donors like us can make a difference in their mission. Here’s what she said:

1. Tell us about miraclefeet. What is it doing to make the world better?

miraclefeet provies low-cost, non-surgical treatment to children born with club feet through 25 clinics in Brazil, Mexico, India and Nicaragua. By treating clubfoot, we can improve a child’s life and reduce the broader challenges of poverty, illiteracy and neglect that often accompany disability in low income countries.

2. Last year we gave $10 to Miracle Feet. What good has this done?

Your $10 paid for a treated child’s first brace to ensure their feet did not relapse. Without this brace the child would have dropped out of treatment. Without the brace the work done to correct the feet would have been wasted and the child would never walk properly. Your $10 prevented this from happening and kept the child on the path to fully corrected, fully functioning feet for the rest of his or her life.

3. What accomplishment are you most proud of this year?

miraclefeet’s first clinic at the infant government hospital in Managua, Nicaragua has grown to over 100 patients, many of them older children who have neglected clubfoot and have never had any treatment. The drop-out rate has plummeted since all children now get free braces, and word of mouth is resulting in many more clubfoot patients making their way to the clinic to get treatment. Training has expanded to other hospitals and clinics to establish enough capacity to treat every child born with clubfoot in Nicaragua. There is still plenty of work to be done so every child born with the condition gets referred to a clinic, but the progress made in one year is remarkable!

4. What are you most excited about in the year to come?

We have a lot of expansion plans to build our programs in India, Brazil and Mexico and also entering new countries. We are evaluating new programs in Namibia, South Africa, Botswana, Mozambique, Liberia, Peru, Guatemala and the Philippines. miraclefeet expects to be treating over 1,500 patients within the next year.

5. How can a small $10 donation make a difference in achieving your mission?

$10 provides a cast or a brace for a patient which are critical elements of successful clubfoot treatment.  $10 is about 5% of the total cost of treating a child.  We only need 20 $10 donations to completely transform the life of a child and to ensure he or she escapes the unnecessary permanent disability caused by untreated clubfoot.

6. What is one thing you wish that the people who give to your cause knew or understood better?

Most people who give do not understand how simple and risk-free the treatment for clubfoot is and they do not always understand how terrible life is for a disabled child in a developing country. The combination of these two factors means miraclefeet can literally transform the lives of thousands of children for an investment of $250 per child. The return on that investment is amazing:  taking a life that is spiraling downwards towards poverty and humiliation and putting it back on a normal track so the child can grow up to be a productive member of his or her community and country.

7. What do you think stops people from giving to a charity?

I think that people want to give, but think if they can’t give a significant amount their contribution will not make a difference.  $10 is a lot of money in a developing country, and it certainly makes a difference to the child and family who we treat.

8. What do you think motivates the people who do donate to give again?

Treating clubfoot is a simple and cheap procedure that has life-altering results for children, families and communities. Many of our donors understand that their donation has a real impact and so they are willing to give again.

9. Doing world changing work isn’t free. Can you explain the model that your project uses to cover its operating costs?

Because we’ve had two donors support our adminstrative costs for three years, every dollar we receive from donations goes directly to treating children. A small percentage (about 10%) of funding from foundations helps cover the very real costs of running our small office, paying our staff and traveling to visit the clinics and ensure the work is being done. In addition, we’ve set up our model so clinic costs decline over time and we will not have to raise funds to cover the costs of a program forever.

10. What do you think is the value of the individual who can only make a small donation?

The overwhelming majority of our donations are small donations from people with big hearts.  These donations add up quickly and allow us to continue our mission to treat as many children with clubfoot as possible.

Want to learn more about miraclefeet?

miraclefeet.org and http://miraclefeet.tumblr.com/

Facebook: miraclefeet

Twitter: @miraclefeet

Want to #give10 to Miraclefeet? They accept donations online, by mail, and in kind donations of clubfoot braces. Check their website.

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