Rick Hodes, whose work in Ethiopia helping children with severe spinal deformities was documented in Making the Crooked Straight which showed at Mountainfilm 2009, sent us a message today with a call to action.

Right now 30 kids in Ghana undergoing spine surgery by Dr. Boachie’s FOCOS team. We’re not fully funded, and greatly appreciate contributions – from small gifts to full sponsorships of $13,000 per child.

He sent us descriptions of all 30 children. Here are a select few:

Alemneh Bekele is a 9 year old from 100 miles north of Addis Ababa. He speaks Oromo and Amharic, and is trying to learn English. He lives with his dad, a farmer and his mom, a housewife, in a mud home. His back started deforming at age 2. Treatment for TB did not stop the deformity. He loves playing soccer and volleyball. He wants to teach Oromo language. He has TB of the spine and has lost 66% of his lung function.

Ebise Tariku is a 12 year old from Wellega, 400 miles south of Addis Ababa. Her dad died 5 years ago. Her mom is a day laborer. She lives with her brother and sister and mom in a 1 room mud hut. A local latrine is used by 18 families. They purchase water from neighbors. She is in 5th grade, and ranks among the top third of her class. She loves helping her relatives with chores, and she wants to be a doctor. Her mom took her to several doctors who said there is no treatment. However a person in the waiting room referred her to us. She has severe scoliosis and underlying neurofibromatosis.

Yetnayet Girma is a 13 year old girl living with her parents in a 1-room mud house. The community toilet is outside. Her dad is a day laborer, her mom sells groceries on the street. She is in 7th grade and ranks in the top 1/3 of her class. She has a severe scoliosis and has lost 60% of her lung function. A stranger in the street noticed her bad back and referred them to our spine program. Her goal is to become a doctor.

Read a description over every child up for surgery here. They are all touching and inspiring stories.

Click here to donate. Donations are tax-deductible and 100% of proceeds go towards Hodes’ work in Ethiopia.

You can catch Rick’s work on HBO, which is running Making the Crooked Straight on OnDemand.

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