UYO—THE Rotary Club International, Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, has brought rivers of joy to 10-year-old Joy Kingsley Michael, the only survivor of the Itam Primary School, Uyo, pupils electrocuted by a high tension wire of the non-operational National Electric Power Authority, NEPA, after a heavy downpour, while returning from school in 2012.
Unknown to the 20 teenagers that a high tension wire conveying electricity had fallen on a pool of rain water, they stepped into the water and were electrocuted with 19 dying instantly. Joy was rushed to the University of Uyo Teaching Hospital (UUTH).
She survived, but lost her two legs which were amputated. For over three years, Joy bemoaned her near hopeless situation until recently when the Rotary Club of Uyo forced a smile on her by providing her a motorized wheel chair as well as empowering her mother to eke out a living for the family.
How my daughter, 19 others were electrocuted: Her mother, Mrs. Grace Kingsley Michael, told NDV: ”She was coming home from Itam Primary School along with 19 other pupils sometime in May 2012 when they walked into a pool of rain water, unknown to them the water was already transmitting electric current from a high tension cable that had dropped from the pole into the water.
“19 children, who were my daughter’s friends died instantly while my daughter was rushed to the University of Uyo Teaching Hospital, Uyo. From that day, I have never known peace, I now live on charity. I thank the Rotary Club for giving me so much assistance. I do not know how the medical bills were paid. The only thing I can remember is that my daughter’s pictures snapped while she was on sick bed, were taken round bus stops, market places and traffic hold jams in Uyo, where people solicited for funds.
Crying, praying, hunger strike
“My situation was helpless because as far as my daughter is disabled, I am also disabled. She cannot go to toilet on her own; she cannot do anything apart from crying and praying. I am sure the money sourced from bus stops was the money used to pay some of her medical bills. Joy was born premature in 2007. My husband, Kingsley Michael, died last year out of frustration. Since she was discharged from the hospital, she has never been happy with herself. She embarked on hunger strike most of the days because of her plight, some days, she remained hungry even if she had appetite because there was no food at home.”
Family thanks Rotary, others
Mrs. Michael thanked God for sparing the life of her daughter. She thanked well-meaning individuals and corporate organizations for their humanitarian gestures and was particularly grateful to the Rotary Club International for providing for her daughter and empowering her to start a trade.
How Rotary came to her rescue—Asuquo
Immediate past President of the Rotary Club of Uyo, Rotarian Mercy Asuquo, who spoke with NDV, revealed: “When I took over as 33rd President of District 9142, Joy had already been amputated. The two legs had already been amputated, her case required humanitarian assistance. On my installation day, I started planning how to give her legs prosthesis. I started by raising money for that. The chairman of my installation ceremony, Dr. Domingo Inyang, donated N500, 000 towards her medical bills”.
She stated that when she attended the West Africa Welfare Fare, she presented Joy’s case as a project and got foreign partners who also raised $3,350 to give her artificial legs. “As we tried to give her legs, we discovered that the level of amputation was very bad, another issue was that since she was still growing, if you give her limbs, now she would definitely outgrow the artificial limbs, which means we have to replace them frequently and they are very expensive. We decided to hold on to the production of limbs. We decided to give her motorized wheel chairs until she gets to maturity,” she explained.
The current president, Francis Inyang, also promised to continue from where Asuquo stopped, saying that the club required $10,000 for the procurement of prosthesis for Joy. According to him, “I am already talking to a doctor in South Africa, who is going to do the prosthesis for Joy. The problem now is that she is still growing. Another problem is that the amputation is very high. We have raised some money for her mother to start a trade.”