Avis and Jumping Kids change another life

Jumping Kids

Avis and Jumping Kids have changed yet another young South African amputee’s life, by giving him the ability to walk.  Avis, who has been collaborating with the Jumping Kids Prosthetic Fund since 2011 and is the project’s main contributor, helps in providing a number of children with much needed prosthetics.

Ntando Mahlangu is a 10 year old boy born with hemimelia, which means he has no bones in the lower part of his legs. He is originally from Mpumalanga, currently resides in Pretoria and attends Pretoria School for Disabled Learners. Ntando has been wheelchair-bound since birth. With a sickly mother that is unable to take care of him and an absent father; Ntando’s grandmother, Pauline Mahlangu, is his guardian and the only family available to help. Ntando is an only child.

On the 3rd of May 2012, both Ntando’s legs were amputated through the knee at Steve Biko Academic Hospital. Ntando’s ability to move on his stumps motivated Johan Snyders, CEO of Icexpress Progressive Prosthetics and founder of Jumping Kids, to fit carbon fibre running blades on Ntando. These are prosthetic blades similar to the ones used by Paralympic blade-runners.

In 2009, Snyders founded the nonprofit organisation (NPO), Jumping Kids, to address the needs of thousands of young South Africans with amputations that have no access to adequate prosthetics and, therefore, limited opportunity to develop normally. The Jumping Kids vision is to allow kids to be kids – to play, run, climb and jump just like any of their able-body peers.

Ntando is now part of the Jumping Kids family. He had his prosthetic legs fitted by Snyders this week and will undergo the required three year programme, during which regular assessments take place.  These assessments are crucial during a child’s growth as their sponsored prostheses require regular adjustment and, at the same time, rehabilitation programmes are tweaked to ensure optimal personal development.  In a sense, it is not that different from replacing shoes and clothes that have been outgrown Snyders says, “Our main aim is to assist these kids, to ensure that they have the same opportunity to develop, attend school, learn, endeavour and excel just like any other child. After all, there is nothing stopping them apart from a physical disability, which in many cases translates into inaccessibility.

“To achieve our vision, public and corporate support is crucial. It is a privilege to collaborate with Avis South Africa to bring mobility and independence to another promising young South African”, adds Snyders.

Chief Executive of Avis Rent a Car Southern Africa, Keith Rankin says, “We at Avis, are proud to be a sponsor of the great work that Jumping Kids performs. Because we believe that “people are more important than cars”, we find great synergy in this project and it is always an honour to know that we are making a difference in the life of a child.”