Documentary

House of Hope

Sebastiaan Franco’s 3 month project detailing the treatment of spina bifida and hydrocephalus in Kenya.

Spina bifida and hydrocephalus are common birth defects around the world, yet doctors aren’t certain what causes this. It’s thought to result from a combination of genetic, nutritional and environmental risk factors, such as a family history of neural tube defects and folate (vitamin B- 9) deficiency.

The International Federation for Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus (IFSBH) was founded by people with spina bifida and hydrocephalus and their families in 1979. Over the years, it has grown from a voluntary association into a professional disabled people’s organization with global coverage, democratic structure and transparent and accountable processes.

This series was a documentation of the work they focused on in Kenya, supporting the Bethany Kids Hospital and the mobile clinic used to provide healthcare access to rural areas and check up on patients that have received treatment in the past.

This project represents over three months Sebastiaan spent in Kenya, living in the AIC hospital and joining the mobile clinic on various trips across the country.

Children during playtime at Joytown Special School in Thika, Kenya

Children during playtime at Joytown Special School in Thika, Kenya

Children during playtime at Joytown Special School in Thika, Kenya

Children during playtime at Joytown Special School in Thika, Kenya

Physical therapy sessions at Joytown Special School in Thika, Kenya

Physical therapy sessions at Joytown Special School in Thika, Kenya

English classes at Joytown Special School in Thika, Kenya

English classes at Joytown Special School in Thika, Kenya

A shoemaker fixes shoes for children at Joytown Special School.

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Reading stories to the youngest students after an occupational therapy session at Joytown Special School in Thika, Kenya.

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Students during an occupational therapy session at Joytown Special School in Thika, Kenya.

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Students during an occupational therapy session at Joytown Special School in Thika, Kenya.

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Lunchtime at Joytown Special School in Thika, Kenya.

Lunchtime at Joytown Special School in Thika, Kenya.

Children washing their spoons at Joytown Special School in Thika, Kenya.

Children washing their spoons at Joytown Special School in Thika, Kenya.

A child has his shunt examined a few months after surgery.

A child has his shunt examined a few months after surgery.

The groundskeeper gets the community hall ready for the mobile clinic in Nyahururu, Kenya.

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Prayers before the mobile clinic starts treatment in Nyahururu, Kenya.

Dr. Bransford examining scans from a patient.

Dr. Bransford examining scans from a patient.

Dr. Bransford getting ready for sugery.

Dr. Bransford getting ready for sugery.

Placement of a shunt.

Placement of a shunt.

Dr. Bransford and his assistant praying before surgery.

Dr. Bransford and his assistant praying before surgery.

Spina Bifida surgery in progress.

Spina Bifida surgery in progress.

Dr. Bransford doing his morning rounds at AIC Hospital in Kijabe, Kenya.

Dr. Bransford doing his morning rounds at AIC Hospital in Kijabe, Kenya.

A young man is brought up to a mobile clinic by his father and uncle in Kimende, Kenya.

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A woman waits for the bus after visiting the mobile clinic in Machakos, Kenya.

A woman waits for the bus after visiting the mobile clinic in Machakos, Kenya.

Two sisters wait in line to visit a nurse at the local hospital in Mombasa, Kenya.

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Social workers interview parents while they wait in line at Aga Khan Hospital in Mombasa, Kenya.

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Dr. McCaully during a therapy session with a child at Bayleaf Hospital in Mombasa, Kenya.

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Families wait with their children to get medical attention and supplies at a mobile clinic in Nyahururu, Kenya.

A mother and her child after visiting a mobile clinic in Mombasa, Kenya.

A mother and her child after visiting a mobile clinic in Mombasa, Kenya.

A young man waits to be treated.

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A mother and her child waiting for a therapist at Bayleaf Hospital in Mombasa, Kenya.

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Dr. McCauly checking on a child at the AIC Hospital in Kijabe, Kenya.

Dr. McCauly checking on a child at the AIC Hospital in Kijabe, Kenya.

On the road with the mobile clinic from the AIC hospital.

On the road with the mobile clinic from the AIC hospital.

Phyllis serving dinner at the House of Hope in Kijabe, Kenya.

Phyllis serving dinner at the House of Hope in Kijabe, Kenya.

AIC Hospital in Kijabe, Kenya.

AIC Hospital in Kijabe, Kenya.

A shed behind Joytown where discarded wheelchairs are stored. The doctors sometimes get parts from older models to fix or adjust the ones in use.

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A child taking his first steps after surgery while his mother looks on.

If you would like to know more information about the work of the International Federation Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus (IFSBH), follow this link https://www.ifglobal.org

If you would like to make a donation to the IFSBH, please follow this link https://www.ifglobal.org/donation/

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The photographer

Sebastiaan Franco

Sebastiaan Franco graduated from the MA Visual Arts program at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Ghent in 2019. Since graduating, he does freelance assignments and pursues his own documentary projects.

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