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While visiting her grandparents’ home outside of Jalalabad, young Safa was outside gathering vegetables for lunch with her sister when she stepped on a landmine. In that one instant, Safa’s life changed forever.

Safa’s family could not afford the intensive rehabilitation or prosthetic limb that she needed, so Safa was forced to use a makeshift crutch. Unable to run around and play with her friends and feeling confused and scared by the entire experience, six-year old Safa was left without much of a reason to smile. Luckily, MLI’s CHAMPS Afghanistan students in the Roshan High School, outside of Jalabad, learned of Safa’s tragedy and immediately began working to help her. Safa’s story was shared with MLI’s CHAMPS students at Grace Christian School in Connecticut and these dedicated young people began raising money to provide her with a new leg and the rehabilitative treatment she so desperately needed. Within a few short months, the Connecticut children had raised enough money to provide her with a new custom-fitted prosthetic leg and the students at Roshan High School began the difficult task of transporting her multiple times a week to and from the Red Cross medical center, where her new leg was fitted and she received the medical care she needed.

The children and faculty at Grace Christian school went on to raise funds for the next four years, providing Safa with new prosthetic legs as she grew. What is truly remarkable about this story, is that prior to the CHAMPS youth finding Safa, the patriarch in her family had never allowed the girls in the family to attend school. But he was so moved by the efforts of the children in Connecticut – who cared so much for Safa, a girl they would never meet – that he allowed Safa and her sisters to attend school for the first time! Thanks to the combined efforts of these amazing youth, Safa now has a new leg, is able to attend school, and finally has hope and a reason to smile!

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