The Bolivian boy who fell asleep on the train tracks...

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When Ismael was four, he lived with his parents and two older sisters in the city of Oruro–in western Bolivia. Ismael was a cheerful and energetic boy, who loved playing outdoors. One day, when his mother was out of town and his father was busy, Ismael went to the train tracks to play. After a few hours, Ismael became tired and fell asleep on the tracks.

Unaware that he was lying on the tracks, the train conductor failed to stop, costing Ismael his right leg and left arm. The boy’s father, overwhelmed with remorse, found it hard to cope with the tragic accident.

After his leg and arm were both amputated, Ismael received rehabilitation care in public and private centers and was fitted with an artificial leg by the Instituto Boliviano de Rehabilitacion (IBR). Over a decade later–with the support of Handicap International–he now attends physical therapy sessions at the Walter Khon rehabilitation center, which is supported by our organization. Physical therapists are helping Ismael strengthen his leg and arms muscles, which will help him gain flexibility and independence.  

Ismael is a brave, active, and determined 15-year-old who loves riding his bike and playing soccer. “He attends rehabilitation sessions and will soon be fitted with an artificial limb for his left arm and a new one for his right leg, explains Narel Gomez, Handicap International’s project manager in Bolivia. “Ismael is constantly on the move and is growing really fast. We’ll need to change his prosthesis every two years or so.”

Today, Ismael is a committed student in his third year of secondary school in Oruro, with dreams of becoming an engineer. Because of Handicap International donors, Ismael is one happy kid who enjoys running and playing with his friends.

Help a child like Ismael stand tall

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