Joseph, a 13 year old Masai boy, born missing three limbs, both arms and one leg, was six when he was brought to Living Water Children’s Centre, an orphanage in Tanzania. Joseph’s family are Masai. The males in the family are expected to care for and herd cows, hunt and demonstrate physical strength to provide for the family. Joseph was unable to carry out many of the expectations of a young Masai male and was shunned by his family. Once he arrived at Living Water Children’s Centre, Joseph demonstrated amazing resilience, perseverance and determination. He thrived and learned to compensate for his disability by working harder and tolerating physical and emotional challenges as a result of his limitations. Joseph’s dream was to “have arms and legs just like other kids.” Supported by donations from LWCF, Joseph and his escort were flown to NY. Joseph was fitted for prosthetics, both arms and his leg. A month later he returned to Tanzania, his dream had come true. For the first time in his 13 years, Joseph was able to pick up a donut with his new hand and place it in his mouth. When asked how pleased he was with his new prosthetics, Joseph spread his new arms as wide as he was able and stated, “This much!”
Robert Shulman, who was an LWCF board member at the time, and his team from Allied Prosthetics, provided the support and expertise to give Joseph his new arms and leg, a new level of confidence and a new lease on life. Upon completion of this project, Robert announced that he was ready to volunteer his time and expertise by providing prosthetics for other children missing limbs. A four mile walk on Long Beach, LI was planned to raise the funds to support this project. Additional support was given by LWCF. After candidates were identified in Haiti, many of whom had lost limbs as a result of the earthquake, Rob and his team traveled to Haiti to assess and measure each candidate. After the prosthetics were made at Alliance Orthopedics in NY and delivered, team members made a second visit. Providing prosthetics to children and adults missing limbs, has enriched lives and allow for greater opportunities otherwise unavailable.
Robert Shulman has gone on to form his own independent non-profit, which continues to do the amazing work of providing prosthetics for children who are in need of support around the world. LWCF will continue to collect donations for this initiative and fund some of Robert’s future projects as well as other projects and initiatives benefiting children in need of prosthetics.