Elielle in Burkina Faso

If you ask any Hope Walks staff member why they joined the organization, you may get a different answer. For Elielle, the counseling coordinator for the Burkina Faso clubfoot program, her answer is simple. “It gives me the opportunity to save children with clubfoot deformity.”

“The best part of the job is counseling, which aims to listen to parents, understand their concerns, reassure them about the treatment, and pray together,” Elielle said.

She began working for Hope Walks in October 2020 right in the middle of a global pandemic. Going into the clinics in the hospital was difficult at first for Elielle. She put herself in the shoes of each mom that came to the clinic with a child born with clubfoot and felt their fear. However, knowing she was part of the process to provide education and comfort gives her strength.

Her most memorable family

Elielle’s most memorable family was twins Inaya and Imran, both born with bilateral clubfoot and treated at Schiphra Hospital. Their mother is a midwife so when her children were both born with clubfoot, she knew treatment was possible but she wasn’t sure where. Once they found the clinic, the children’s grandmother would attend every visit with the family to help hold the twins. For Elielle, this mother was a great example of courage and perseverance.

Hope Walks works with the Ministries of Health in each country to build a national treatment program. Convincing the proper authorities that clubfoot treatment is essential is one of her biggest challenges, she said. Untreated clubfoot, however, has huge economic impacts for not only the families, but also their communities.

Elielle’s training as a project management engineer and service as a Sunday school teacher serve her very well in her role as a counseling coordinator. This gives her both organizational skills and spiritual sensitivity.

“Counseling for me is first of all empathy, the ability to put yourself in the patients’ shoes, to understand their concern and to come to their aid,” she said.

For Elielle, clubfoot treatment is more than just physical. It has eternal implications. “If God in His immense love has allowed children to be born with clubfoot, He also gives us the ability to take care of these children by surrounding them with God’s love and announcing the gospel to their parents.”