‘The Girl’ in the Bowl is the name the press and TV gave to Gifty, a child of 6 1/2 years who was found living in this container.
The case was reported to Social Welfare by the Community Health Nurse who was on a routine visit to homes in the area where Gifty’s family resides. They reported that they found Gifty in a bowl left unattended, in the sun, isolated from the other family members. The press picked up the story and eventually our Centre was contacted by Social Welfare to see what we could do to help this child.
The initial observation of the team that had visited the home was that Gifty was in an old dirty bowl that had cracked from the pressure of her knees against the side of it. She was sitting naked in her own urine. She looked very dirty and had flies all over her. Her hair was twisted as if it had not been combed for months. She looked very pale, weak and sick. She was not able to stand, sit or respond properly to greetings and questions. Because she had always been kept in a bowl, her body seemed to be taking the shape of the bowl, resulting in bent and twisted legs. She looked too small and skinny for her age (when weighed, she was 15 pounds). On the positive side, the few words she managed to say were clear and sounded intelligent.
Gifty’s mother is 35 years old with eight children. She sells water and oranges on the road. This work enables her to make about $10.00 a month if she is lucky. Her children range in age from 17 years to 7- month-old twins. Gifty’s father died a few years ago.
This story is hard to believe, but we are often faced with cases of children who have been in terrible situations, mostly due to poverty and ignorance.
These photos show Gifty one week after her coming to us here at the OTC. As you can see, she is not only out of the bowl but is sitting up straight in a stroller. She has been eating well and enjoys interacting with the other children. However, she still needs a great deal of care. Once she becomes strong and infection-free, we will be able to plan for dealing with her spina bifida occult and her spasticity. We are sharing her story with you because we really need financial help in order to offer this child everything she needs: food, clothing, education, and medical care.
If you would like to help Gifty and the other children that have similar stories, please consider donating to OTC.