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Humble Bundles are changing lives in Kenya

Katya Lavine by Katya Lavine  •  posted 2 years ago in story

The Watsi team recently visited Kijabe Hospital, a Watsi partner hospital in Kenya, located about 65 kilometers northwest of Nairobi.

In Kenya, there are about 1.7 physicians for every 10,000 citizens.

Kijabe Hospital provides life-changing healthcare to over 110,000 patients each year. Kijabe has 280 beds, and they are almost always full, with dozens more patients in line to receive care.

For years, Kijabe has had to turn away patients who cannot afford to pay for healthcare. Some patients spend weeks to months raising money for their care, taking out loans, or selling everything they own in an attempt to cover their medical bills. Some never receive treatment.

But since partnering with Watsi, Kijabe hospital has been able to say yes to hundreds more patients in need of care by crowdfunding the cost of their treatments.

One of the biggest supporters of Kijabe’s patients on Watsi is Humble Bundle, whose community can pay what they want for bundles of video games and support charity.

Obed is among the patients who had 100% of their healthcare funded by the Humble Bundle community.

An eight-year-old boy, Obed survived a cooking gas cylinder explosion in his family’s kitchen. His parents and his sister passed away shortly after the incident. Only Obed and his brother survived.

Obed suffered severe burns on his body and hands in the explosion. His guardian brought him to Kijabe Hospital, hoping to find help.

“Obed’s father was a dear friend of mine,” his guardian told his doctors. “I love Obed and his brother as though they are my own.”

Doctors at Kijabe told Obed and his guardian about Watsi, a website that would share Obed’s story and help cover the cost of his healthcare. His story was posted on Watsi, and the Humble Bundle community donated the $1,125 he needed for treatment.

Today, after a single contracture release surgery, Obed can properly extend his fingers again. He is back in school, able to participate without limitations, and more confident in his interactions with peers.

The Humble Bundle community also funded care for Naisanoi, a 35-year-old mother of ten children who lives in a village near Kijabe. Naisanoi sells traditional beaded jewelry and milk from her husband’s cattle to support her family.

For years, Naisanoi lived with a cataract in her right eye. Cataracts occur when the lens inside the eye becomes cloudy, causing blurred vision and eventually blindness. Naisanoi’s symptoms became so severe that she was forced to stop working, and struggled to care for her children.

Cataracts cause 43% of all blindness in Kenya, but can be treated with a 30 minute surgery. After the cataract is removed and a new lens is inserted during surgery, a patient’s vision can improve to 20/20 within one day. But between healthcare costs and a lack of qualified physicians, many adults with cataracts in developing countries will never receive treatment.

Naisanoi found out about Watsi when a doctor from our medical partner travelled to her village. He told her that strangers around the world could help fund her care through Watsi.

“Naisanoi walked into the interview with a smile on her face,” her doctor told us, “and as we settled down for the interview, I began to understand why. She had been praying for her vision to come back since she realized that she was gradually going blind.”

Kijabe Hospital submitted Naisanoi’s profile to Watsi, and the Humble Bundle community funded the $230 surgery to restore her sight.

Now that Naisanoi has clear vision again, she can continue making jewelry and caring for her children.

“Thank you for answering my prayer and coming to restore my sight,” Naisanoi said after treatment.

The Humble Bundle community has made it possible for thousands of patients like Obed and Naisanoi to receive life-changing care – for conditions ranging from spina bifida to cancer to hydrocephalus – free of cost.

Support more patients on Watsi by buying the next Humble Bundle!


Katya Lavine

I manage medical partnerships @ Watsi