Bringing Hope to Mali | Awa

Awa, an 11-year-old girl, was shaking down fruit from a tree with a metal pole when her pole hit a live wire, and in a flash, sent a shock down her body, electrocuting her in all four limbs and her belly. The electric surge left her with terrible wounds, but her left hand and foot sustained the most injuries.

Awa lives with her family in Segou, Mali in Western Africa, a country where half of the population lives on less than $1.25 a day. There is limited access to medical care—and not a single plastic surgeon in the entire country.

That’s when ReSurge stepped in to make a difference. It was two years ago when ReSurge volunteers first met Awa at Gabriel Toure Hospital in Bamako, the capital city of Mali. Awa underwent several surgeries on her other extremities and, unfortunately, her left foot had to be partially amputated.

After the volunteer team left, a local doctor trained and supported by ReSurge, Dr. Oumar Coulibaly, continued to care for Awa, ensuring that her wounds healed properly so she could have the follow-up procedures needed the next time we returned.

This past fall, ReSurge sent occupational therapist Pam Silverman along with the surgical team to help Awa learn rehabilitative exercises to restore function to her hand.

When the ReSurge team saw her in 2011, just a year after her first round of surgeries, Awa was eagerly waiting with her family. She was dressed in a very becoming dress and had a grown-up purse over her shoulder. There were no signs of limping despite the injuries sustained on her feet. Awa, who speaks French fluently, proudly told us that she can walk, run and shoot “les basket” (basketball).

She attends school, can write with her right hand and is now a sixth grader. With continued rehabilitation for her recent surgeries, we can imagine a bright future ahead for Awa, one that a few years before may not have been possible.