Francisca’s Story

“In our family, in our community, any child born with a disability – it’s a curse. They wanted to poison me but I thank God because my mom ran away.”


Francisca, a beautiful woman with a radiant smile, has been a BethanyKids staff member at Joytown for 5 years now. She has a special bond with the children here because she was also born with spina bifida and knows what it’s like to grow up in a culture that doesn’t understand disabilities. She told us her incredible story during our recent visit to Joytown.

“In our family, in our community, any child born with a disability – it’s a curse. They wanted to poison me but I thank God because my mom ran away.”

Francisca’s mother didn’t know what was wrong with her newborn child, but she couldn’t allow the community to kill her baby as was often the custom. She was eventually able to return to her village – but Francisca was never accepted.

“Since my childhood it was very difficult. In the community people just knew me as an outcast so I had a hard time with my family. Always my dad came home and said I am a useless child. I would get pressure sores on my legs because I didn’t have proper shoes. It’s always smelling bad because of all those infections. I just grew up in a hard way.”

“I always cried and I didn’t have hope in my life. I just wanted to die.”

In fact, as a young teen, Francisca tried to take her own life – twice.

“My life was really terrible,” she recalls. “I tried to look for death where I can just go into the water, can I just climb a tree and hang myself?”

The turning point for Francisca was when she went to visit an uncle who was attending Bible school near Kijabe hospital.

“When I came to Kijabe, people just gave me love and showed me that I’m a person loved by God,” she says. “And I came to know what spina bifida is.”

It was at Kijabe Hospital that she met the BethanyKids surgeon who would change her life.

Because of severe infection, surgeons had to amputate Francisca’s right leg. But she was fitted with a prosthesis – and then taught how to care for herself and her disability.

“I was so happy to realize that I can take care of myself. I got an artificial leg and can walk again. My life was transformed because of those people and the love they showed me,” She says. “The verse they read to me the first time was Jeremiah 29:11 – “For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you. To give you hope and a future.”

“I just came to know that God has a really, really good plan for my life and where I am now,” says Francisca. “I’ve seen God working a miracle in my life, using me as a vessel.”

Today, Francisca is married to Peter, a loving Christian man, and together they celebrate another miracle – a 3-year old son named Jeremy. Both Francisca and Peter serve the special needs children of Joytown. And she is so grateful.

“I just say “Thank you Jesus” because you really have a good plan for my life – that’s why I didn’t die at a time when I was young so you can be able to use me for your work. You know, when I was in the hospital I didn’t even know who paid my bill. Until now even I don’t know. So thank you for the work you are doing. Continue helping the children with disabilities – you’ll change their lives just the way God used people to change my life.”