Komola stands in the doorway of her home. She has a brace on her right leg for additional support.
"Komola is walking! Komola is walking!" a little girl shouted to her friends. Neighborhood children gathered and watched in disbelief as the 8-year-old girl took her first steps on her own.
Komola, who lives with her mother Sarothi in Bangladesh, was born with a deformed right foot. Walking was painful, and she could not stand upright or walk for more than 10 minutes. Because of the way her foot rubbed the ground, the skin was raw and damaged.
In order to attend the Compassion-assisted child development center, Komola had to be carried there every day by her mother.
When the other children ran outside to play, Komola would sit quietly in the classroom. She knew her limitations. Yet, watching her classmates only fueled her desire to walk properly.
A Mother's Hope for Her Daughter
Komola's mother Sarothi lost her husband four years ago to tuberculosis. Sarothi works in a tea garden and earns only 45 taka (U.S.64 cents) a day hardly enough to provide food for her children. Every time Sarothi looked at her daughter's impaired foot she could only dream about medical treatment to fix it.
Sarothi constantly worried about Komola's future. The Hindu culture is not friendly to girls and women. Rural Hindu girls have a tough time getting married because their parents are expected to pay a large dowry to the groom's family something they often cannot afford. A physical deformity like Komola's dims marriage prospects even further.
Sarothi was expecting a dark future for her youngest daughter. She even wondered how Komola would survive in the future without her.
And though Sarothi labored every day to carry her daughter to and from the Compassion center, the care and love the girl received there made the effort worth it.
An Invitation for Treatment
At the center, Komola not only learned to read and write but her attitude, appearance and social skills improved noticeably. She also received regular health checkups and medical treatment.
Although Sarothi knew that her daughter received health care at the center, she never imagined it would extend to repairing her foot. Sarothi knew that such surgery was expensive, and doubted the center could pay for it. She did not expect them to.
But one day, the center manager visited Sarothi's home and told her that Compassion would arrange for medical surgery for Komola thanks to a special gift from Komola's sponsor as well as Compassion's Medical Fund. Sarothi had great faith in Compassion and the staff, so she agreed to send Komola to Dhaka for the surgery.
A Miraculous Gift
Straightening a foot bent as severely as Komola's is a complex medical procedure. Two difficult surgeries were required. After the first surgery the girl returned home with a bandage on her foot. A few weeks later she had her second surgery. Both were successful.
Since she was a child trying to learn to walk, Komola had never been able to master walking because of her right foot. But after the second surgery she placed her right foot properly on the ground for the very first time. Her right ankle and leg weren't strong enough to support her weight, so the doctor suggested a special pair of shoes to provide additional support.
When Komola first entered the yard on her own two feet, her mother looked at her with disbelief. That was the first time Sarothi had seen her daughter step straight. Little children from the neighborhood gathered to see a new Komola.
Sarothi hugged her daughter, relieved and full of joy. Sarothi realized what a miracle had taken place because of Compassion.
The Love of a Sponsor
"I never imagined that my daughter could walk properly on her foot," Sarothi says. "I thought that she would never get married because who would marry a physically challenged girl?
"I was doubtful how far Compassion could afford for my daughter's treatment. Now I am the witness that Compassion provides the best for our children. Previously Komola's sponsor provided us with cow, tin for the house roof, and bedstead. Now she contributed for Komola's surgery. I am thankful to her and all the donors who are taking care of my daughter. Also thanks to the manager, social worker, and tutors of Compassion project who have taken care of all the medical treatment of Komola!"
Every day after Compassion activities end, the center social worker Seuli and tutor Nondon wash Komola's foot to help prevent infections.
"It is really a blessing to see Komola walking," Seuli says. "I praise God for His mercy on this little girl. This girl had no hope, but God has opened the channel of blessing for this girl."
Komola's life has been transformed. She can now walk to the Compassion center herself, even up and down the hill the center is built on.
A Time of Rejoicing
"I wanted to walk and move around like my friends," Komola says with a smile. "I didn't like to be carried by my mother. Now I can return home by myself. My sponsor helped me to walk on my own. I am thankful to her and Compassion. Another thing is that now I can wear regular shoes. Last Christmas, Compassion project gave me a pair of shoes, but only the left one was fit for me. Now I have a cured right foot and can wear both of them. Thanks again to my sponsor. I will give my sponsor one of my coconut bowls."
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