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Results of our first fundraiser: life-changing health treatments for four patients

I want to sincerely thank everyone who helped make a difference in our March fundraiser. To those who ordered a copy, told their friends about it or (re)tweeted a link to the fundraiser page: we all achieved this together. I hope that looking into the faces of the patients below will remind you that your efforts affect real people in a profound way.

To be honest, I was a little worried that we wouldn’t get enough money together to fund any major treatments. The last issue of Offscreen was released in mid January and from experience 1-2 months after a new release isn’t a very busy time over here and sales numbers are very modest. However, we ended up selling enough copies and future subscriptions that after basic expenses I was left with around $3940.

It was a real pleasure working with Grace from Watsi who helped me locate four patients with treatment costs that are within our budget of around $2000. So, please let me introduce you to…

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Abezash is an eight-month-old girl who comes from a family of subsistence farmers in Ethiopia. She was born with rare birth defect that left her without a hole for passing stool. Her parents have four other children, and can’t afford the $800 surgery she needs to live a normal life.

Ngaikiinyi comes from a cattle farming family in Tanzania. He likes helping his father with the farm, but has trouble keeping up because of a condition that causes his knees to angle in and touch each other when straightened. He needs surgery to enable him to walk normally. With full mobility, he’ll be able to participate in his family’s income generation. He’ll also have a wider set of options for the future, including potentially finishing school. Ngaikiinyi’s treatment costs $500.

Ruth is a bright girl who has to painfully walk on the outer parts of her feet because she was born with severe bilateral clubfoot, a condition that causes the feet to grow inward and downward, rather than straight and flat. Clubfoot is completely treatable with surgery which costs $500.

Ponleu is a student. He studies English and Finance at a school in his home province near the Vietnamese border, but he’s constantly straining his eyes because of strabismus, a condition that can cause permanent vision problems and fatigue if left untreated. He needs a $250 surgery to treat his strabismus and realign his eyes so he can continue with school.

With your help, Offscreen paid for their treatments in full this morning. We wish Abezash, Ngaikiinyi, Ruth and Ponleu all the best for their upcoming surgeries and a speedy recovery. Of course, I will continue to post updates about their treatments on this blog as they come in, courtesy of Watsi.

Once again, thank you all from me here at Offscreen and all the folks from Watsi, who have been excited about this partnership with our humble little magazine. We all see you next year for our 2014 fundraiser!

Kai Brach
Editor/Publisher

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