The Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund (PWRDF) is exploring treatment options for Francine Nijimbere, a 26-year-old woman from Burundi, whose arms were severed by her brother-in-law because she had given birth to a girl.
Ms. Nijimbere’s story, published in the May issue of the Anglican Journal, touched many readers who have inquired about how they might be able to assist her. PWRDF is currently looking into treatment options for Ms. Nijimbere in countries neighbouring Burundi.
The bishop of the diocese of Bujumbura, Pie Ntukamazina, informed PWRDF that Burundi has no treatment and rehabilitation facilities for victims like Ms. Nijimbere. “There is no place in Burundi where she can be measured or fitted for prosthetics,” said Bishop Ntukamazina in a communique sent to PWRDF. “Francine is a choir member of our cathedral and, indeed, her story is very moving,” said. “She is in desperate need since she cannot feed, dress or wash herself.”
In a press statement, PWRDF said that it inquired about treatment and rehabilitation costs from Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children’s department of rehabilitation medicine and was told it could range from $10,000 to $15,000 US ($11,495 to $17,118 Cdn.). “Some devices could cost as much as $35,000 US ($39, 942 Cdn.),” said PWRDF.
“These costs vary, depending on the amount of damage to the arm and what tissue remains, including whether or not shoulders and shoulder blades are intact.”
Zaida Bastos, PWRDF African program co-ordinator, said the story “has moved many people, and PWRDF is getting questions from the Canadian public regarding the possibility of helping Francine get prosthetics. We are accepting donations while we continue our search for the best place for Francine to be assessed for prosthetics.”
Ms. Nijimbere is one of the beneficiaries of the women’s empowerment program of the Mother’s Union, which the PWRDF funds. In 2007 and 2008, PWRDF provided $72,500 for programs that focus on “ending violence against women and women’s economic empowerment through outreach, support and counselling.”
Donations may be sent to PWRDF through Annie Au Yeung, toll free at 1-866-308-7973.