Staten Island Not-for-Profit Helps African Children Amputees
Kaeula Nkalango says she has lived in fear ever since her arm was cut off by a complete stranger in East Africa. But she says she has peace of mind at this home on Staten Island.
"It's safe. It's not like in my country. I'm sure no attackers can come," says Nkalango.
The home is owned by Global Medical Relief Fund. The Staten Island based non-profit helps children who have lost limbs. The 17-year old suffers from Albinism. She was born with no pigment in her skin, hair and eyes. The organization's director says children with Albinism in East Africa are a target. She says their body parts are prized by witch doctors.
"It's unimaginable what has happened to them and they can still smile," says Elissa Montanti, Director of Global Medical Relief Fund.
Montanti is taking Nkalango and four other children with the disease to Shriners Childrens Hospital in Philadelphia this week -- where they'll receive prosthetic limbs and surgery... free of charge. The children will then go back to Staten Island to spend the next few months recovering.
"It feels pretty good knowing that they will go back home whole," adds Montanti.
Montanti says after the children return home she tries to keep tabs on them as best she can. She says many of them end up coming back here because they outgrow their prosthetic. Montani is also partnering with another non-profit called Under the Same Sun. The organization pays for the children to attend boarding school in Africa. The kids are not allowed back to their hometowns -- where they could once again become victims. Nkalango says she is thankful for all the help she has received. She says her dream is to become a lawyer so she help others who've suffered the same fate.
"I want justice," says Nkalango.