Juliet: A life Transformed

by ACT

  • Posted on March 6, 2020

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Looking at the broader picture in life we might be surprised at what we can see. It is the reason why at ACT the broader picture is important to us and to our goals. We are inspired by the stories that come from the people we support and help. If we can support just one child’s journey through education or medical strife or a widow that is distraught and struggling, we would have made a difference to someone’s life. Children with lack of education and opportunities are commonplace in Africa. In the UK, matters such as school fees, school uniform and basic healthcare, are issues we often take for granted. For children from poor backgrounds in Africa they are the essential things which often are not accessible.

Juliet’s story

Juliet is just one of those stories — a 16-year-old girl from Ipaja, in Lagos State, Nigeria. She was only 12 years old when her father died, leaving her mother Patience, to look after her and her 4 older siblings. Uneducated and with no special skills, Patience has struggled to support her 5 children, not uncommon when a family is left without the breadwinner in Africa. Like many such families, they came to the attention of ACT partner, ICL who recommended that they be supported. Three years ago, ACT began supporting Juliet and her older sister, Gift, in order to relieve the burden on their mother and give the children opportunity of an education and a better life. Last year Juliet was afflicted with an acute illness. She had odontogenic myxoma, a rare condition which causes abnormal growth of benign tumours in the jaw area, leading to an abnormally deformed jaw.  The condition got worse to the point when suddenly it became life threatening. ACT together with the family’s local church community came forward to pay for the surgery bill, which was very expensive and unaffordable for the family. The surgery was successful and Juliet has mostly recovered with the swelling on her jaw greatly reduced.  She is now able to speak far more clearly than before and is back at school. But the road to full recovery is not over and ACT continues to support her medical needs as well as provide her hope for a better life.

Medical issues in Africa:

Juliet’s medical strife is merely a symptom of a larger problem that is widespread, particularly for people in rural Africa.  The UK healthcare system provides support for all its citizens. Regardless of wealth or status, everyone has access to medical treatment. It is not the same in Africa where basic healthcare, let alone more complex and costly surgery, like Juliet had endured is out of reach for the vast majority of people. This is a tip of the iceberg of the health crisis in Africa, as doctors are in short supply (according to UN there is 1 doctor for every 5000 people, compared to roughly 3-4 doctors for every 1000 people in Europe). Another major problem is a simple lack of medicine and infrastructure, meaning locals in more rural areas may have to rely on local chemists and traditional healers rather than proper medical treatment. Addressing this issue is key to bringing about change. Education is the key, and if it is not accessible to all, then more problems can be expected in the future. This is why ACT is doing all it can to help the people most disadvantaged in rural African society, orphans and fatherless children and the women/widows in need.

Juliet is one of the lucky ones. Countless other children, with no one to help or support their medical needs have not survived. They have left distraught mothers and siblings carrying the pain of what may have been.  This is why we need your help. ACT cannot do it alone, it is only with your support that we can support more children like Juliet and bring hope to widows, like her mother Patience, with many children to feed on her own.

ACT is for the people otherwise forgotten. You can ACT by sponsoring a child.  To find out more or to donate to our work please click here.

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