The Rise Up Story
When RUS set out to treat jiggers years back, it was hard to imagine if our efforts could bear any fruit given the stigma, superstitions and sheer numbers of people afflicted by the bug. Most disturbing was the big number of children who wouldn’t go to school, play or put on a smile on their faces because of jigger pain. These left out children had no childhood, with days, months and years of their tender lives wasted by a bug that would be easily killed to set them free.
Our initial attempts to work with government representatives were met with coldness. Jigger victims were being turned away from health centers where they were ordered to go back home and shower because of the smells from rotting flesh and stigma that even medical professionals attached to these victims. Even the corporate world was unwilling to invest in the jigger plight.
Driven by the fire to create relief and raise awareness, RUS set out with volunteer teams with basic training in community health, armed with scalpels, hydrogen peroxide and disinfectants to kill the jigger. Enlisting the support of community leaders and teachers, they combed through villages, killing jiggers, giving shoe donations where they could, disinfecting homes and offering hygiene education. Follow up efforts were done through follow up volunteers who provided health and even spiritual help where it was necessary.
Five years on, we’re happy to report that numbers of jigger victims have come down by over 90% in areas we’ve worked. We’ve dispelled stigma through sensitization campaigns and helped former victims come back and be incorporated into society.
The future is looking good for our cause, and in a few years, we shall have no jiggers in the western belt of Kenya, where most of our work is concentrated. We plan to expand our efforts after accomplishing our goal in our present marked geographical location.