A learner born with polydactyly, Ngoako Lekota, enrolled at Bana ba Thari Special School for Learners with Intellectual Impairment can now walk with pride after receiving surgical shoes donated by local medical orthotist and prosthetist Tertia Mabitje on Tuesday.
Polydactyly is the most common congenital anomaly of the forefoot. It refers to the presence of six toes on one foot while more toes are possible. In this instance the seven-year-old learner was born with six digits on both his feet and requires special shoes. Although Lehlabile Orthotic and Prosthetic Centre owned by Mabitje managed to design surgical sandals for Ngoako, the institution together with the School Based Support Team (SBST) are on a mission to find a donor for surgical boots ahead of the winter season.
Mabitje indicated that the sandals were custom-made which means they had to measure his feet precisely to get the correct size. She explained that she had bought suitable leather and designed the shoes to perfectly fit him. Mabitje said surgical boots cost about R15 000 and stressed that her centre would work with the school to try and find sponsors for the boots. Ngoako cannot get shoes at any shopping outlet. Mabitje concluded by saying that at the centre they believed strongly in enhancing physical ability and restoring life.
Bana ba Thari’s SBST coordinator, Asnath Mothapo and educator Regie Mabitsela emphasised that the gesture of goodwill from Mabitje meant a lot to the learner and the institution. They thanked her for the donation and also applauded Ngoako’s mother, Mercy Lekota for not losing hope and being patient about getting help for her son. According to them, it has not been an easy journey but they were delighted that they finally got perfect shoes for Ngoako.
Lekota, who could not hide her excitement said she was at a loss for words but expressed gratitude at the generosity and goodwill of the school and Mabitje. She said she was a single mother and depended on temporary jobs hence she could not afford surgical shoes. Lekota pleaded with companies and individuals to help raise money for surgical boots before the harsh winter conditions hit the city. Anyone willing to donate can contact Mabitsela on 072 281 3489.
Story and photos: ENDY SENYATSI