International (MNN) — CURE Clubfoot Worldwide, a CURE
International initiative, not only aims to eradicate clubfoot globally and
raise awareness about the deformity, it introduces Christ to non-believers.
program is being used as a catalyst to shelter those who are societal outcasts
because of the deformity and to build relationships with non-believers.
"We're finding that there's a tremendous need and a
wonderful response in every country we go to," says program director Andy Mayo.
"What's been a surprise, even to me, is the need of these mothers who are
At a Kenyan clinic, CURE did an unofficial survey that found
75-percent of mothers who had brought their children to the clinic for treatment had
been rejected by their husbands, families, or both, because of the child's
"So much of this has to do with lack of education and
ignorance," says Mayo. "In these poor villages, so many times people don't know
the reason for this, and so they assume that it's the fault of the mother."
Members of the community often ridicule and tell a mother that
she should destroy her baby. Mothers often come to the clinic depressed and
hopeless, and counselors then have the chance to share hope with them.
"That's a wonderful job, to be able to tell a parent that
you've got a solution for their problem."
Mayo sees the mothers not only finding a safe haven at the
clinics but ministering to each other's needs as well. After meeting a
hairdresser with no source of income at one of the CURE clinics in Africa, a
woman recruited five people from her village to give the hairdresser their
The program also allows for relationships to be built with
non-believers in the community.
"We look at this and say, ‘We're not the church'," says Mayo.
"We want to be doing things that support the local church, that give people the
opportunity to build relationships with non-Christians and from those
relationships then invite them to church."
Clubfoot is corrected through a nonsurgical procedure
offered by the CURE program called the Ponseti method. Gentle manipulations
stretch the tendons and ligaments of the foot, and a plaster cast is applied each
time to maintain the degree of correction. During the child's six-week medical
treatment, a relationship is built between parents and the counselor, and a door
is opened for the counselor to share the Gospel. Therefore, CURE usually
appoints local pastors or laypeople as counselors.
"One of our goals with using counselors that are local
pastors [or pastors' wives] or laypeople is to make that connection so that as
we develop that relationship, they can invite them back to the church," said
The CURE Clubfoot Worldwide initiative has clinics in 10
developing countries, with the largest programs in India. The state government
in Delhi asked CURE if they could partner with the initiative, even though CURE
is a known Christian organization. This project has been in operation for 2
years and has treated 4,000 children. The goals for 2009 include programs in 8
new developing nations and the treatment of 5,000 children.