Disability is not Inability.
HopeCore’s Partnership with Walkabout Foundation to provide free wheelchairs to the physically disabled in Kenya.
Written by Dennis Muchemi & Irene Mokua
Disabled people with extraordinary talents succeed and contribute to the world economy every day. Imagine the world of science without Stephen Hawking. The Olympics without Tanni Grey Thompson. How about physics without Albert Einstein?
“People with disabilities are usually the strongest, most courageous with a strength of character and determination to succeed.
We must not forget that some of the most successful people the world has ever seen were physically disabled. Usually, people don’t have a supportive and encouraging attitude towards them. They treat them as if they were useless. They make them feel as if they are unfortunate, helpless, and incapable people who cannot do anything worthwhile and substantive in life. The truth is disabled people are not less than any normal human being. They can accomplish anything and much more than normal people”
Not everyone is a genius, but many people can be extraordinary, and I strongly believe that with the right support at an early age, many more people with disabilities can secure work, making a valuable contribution to society and leading a fulfilling life for themselves. The Kenyan Government through the National Council for People with Disabilities (NCPWD) mission is “to promote and Protect equalization of opportunities and realization of human rights for People with Disability (PWD) to leave a decent livelihood. The role of the NCPWD is to develop policies that promote the rights of PWD, but the commission faces financial challenges that prevent it from implementing these policies hence not benefiting the PWD.
Every single day Village HopeCore International gets an opportunity to change someone’s life, through school-based mobile clinics, Maternal Child Health and the Community Health activities carried out daily in the field. It is during these activities that we encounter caregivers who bring children with disabilities that need wheelchairs.
In 2019, Village HopeCore International partnered with Walkabout Foundation to support 20 people with mobility disabilities. Of the 20 clients, 12 are school-going children where 3 started schooling after the provision of the wheelchairs.
Walkabout Foundation’s mission is to improve the quality of life for people with mobility disabilities through the provision of locally repairable, custom-fitted wheelchairs and rehabilitation. Amazingly, 90% of the workforce at the Walkabout Foundation are people living with physical disabilities, which leaves most of the beneficiaries of the wheelchairs encouraged and feel that disability is not an inability.
When one talks of 20 wheelchairs, one might feel that it is an insignificant number, but in reality, this has made a huge impact. If we were to buy the 20 wheelchairs, we could have spent about Kshs.645000, which is a lot of money.
We identified Ann, an 11-year old girl, during a mobile clinic held at a Vocational Training Center in Mitheru ward. She was crawling in a rough patch, struggling to go play with friends. Her mother, who is a single mother, says Ann had no problems at birth but later her milestones started regressing and her limbs weakening until she could not walk anymore. She washes clothes for a living and cannot afford a wheelchair for the daughter. After a discussion with her, we organized them to be taken to Nanyuki where a wheelchair was fitted for her. We have since made three impromptu (3) visits to her home but every time we have found her at school.
We met Sarah, a mother of a 6-year the old boy who was born with mobility disabilities, through her area Community Health Volunteer who took us to her home. Sarah says when the son reached school-going age, she identified a school for the physically disabled at Nkubu in Meru County. However, a wheelchair was a requirement before admission. Having no money, she had pleaded with the school to allow her son in class as she looked for money to buy a wheelchair. She was happy when we, in partnership with the Walkabout Foundation, delivered the wheelchair for the son who is now comfortably in school.
During a Community-Based MCH at Nkururu Village, nurse Muchemi came across a 10 years the old girl (Stacy) who had a walking disability secondary to meningitis.
The parents of this girl had a lot of frustrations in bringing up the girl because she could not move on her own and the mother has to stay at home to attend to her.
This had subjected the family to poverty because of the low productivity bearing in mind Stacy’s family entirely depends on seasonal farming.
The nurse who attended to her took the initiative to link with Walk About Foundation. HopeCore facilitated the transportation of Stacy and her mother to Nanyuki. The girl was offered a free wheelchair that can facilitate her movement. This was a new chapter and life-changing encounter in Stacy’s’ life. Her mother was overwhelmed and indebted for the support she got from HopeCore.
Mwende had a musculoskeletal condition that had been deteriorating. The orthopedic had advised that they needed to buy a special wheelchair that would cost them close to Ksh. 50,000($500). Besides, she required physiotherapy services. When we took her to Nanyuki, she had a special wheelchair custom-fitted. The mother has since been making subsequent visits for physiotherapy. She says that the introduction and initial help from HopeCore were God-sent. Grace has since been steadily improving.
The Relative are now relieved; they no longer have to spend all day at home thus get an opportunity to engage in income-generating activities which in turn will eradicate poverty. HopeCore is entirely convinced that the future is bright and promising for a population that in the past felt left out, unwanted and a burden to the community. Village HopeCore International in collaboration with Walkabout Foundation has touched the lives of the minority and
Indeed “Thousands of candles can be lit from a single candle and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.
To Suppor the work that HopeCore is doing in collaboration with Walkabout Foundation, please make a tax-deductible donation HERE!