Rahma Haruna is a bright and happy teenage girl, despite being limbless and in constant pain. She is forced to live her life in a plastic bucket after losing the ability to use her arms and legs. She can barely move a muscle and is confined to a tiny bucket no bigger than a crock pot.
The 19 year old was born perfectly healthy in the village of Lahadin Makole, close to the Nigerian city of Kano. But when she turned six months old, doctors noticed that her growth came to a sudden halt and she mysteriously stopped hitting key development milestones.
‘The life of a teenage girl has been restricted to a plastic bucket after her limbs failed to grow. She was born normal and was healthy until six months of age. She developed a fever after which she stopped hitting key developmental milestones.’
"From six months when she learned how to sit, that was when it began," explained her mother, Fadi. "She started with a fever and that was it. Then stomach pains. Then her body parts like hands and legs. She cannot use any if ache strikes. She didn't learn how to crawl." Fadi added.
"I've spent 15 years searching for the cure," her father, Hussaini said. Her family spent thousands on experts and treatments in an attempt to fix what was wrong with her, but to no avail. "I sold almost everything in my possession," Hussaini said. "I farm, go to the market and lots more looking for money to pay for her bills. Only God knows the real amount of what I had spent."
But while doctors have been baffled about Haruna's condition, she's been looking on the bright side of things. "I thank God in everything I do," she said. "I want to start a business. A grocery store and anything people buy, that is what I want." With help from her 10-year-old brother, Fahad , with whom she shares a special bond, and the rest of her family, Haruna spends her days in Kano begging for spare change and other donations. In addition to carrying her around, Haruna's family helps her eat, wash up and even gossip with cousins. Her brother Fahad, takes her out to their relatives because Haruna loves spending time with them.
Haruna was recently thrust into the spotlight after a freelance photographer named Sani Maikatanga shared images of her on social media, sparking a wave of requests from strangers who wanted to help her in any way they could. She has since received a slew of gifts, including the donation of a wheelchair.