Disabilities and Rehabilitation Project

BRIEF SUMMARY

Key Benefits

What We Have Achieved

How We Work

The Project’s Future

What It Costs
By donating to this project, you will helping to support the work of our Community Based Rehabilitation Coordinator, without whose skills many people living with disabilities in the local area would continue to suffer. We also fund patient referrals, basic mobility aids, rehabilitation equipment, and transport. Some medical cases, however (such as critical operations or specialist equipment like prosthetics), cannot fit within our project budget — and in these cases, we will need donors to make a special commitment to fundraise for these on an individual basis. If you want to help someone on a waiting list for this kind of specialist treatment, please e-mail us.


FURTHER INFORMATION ABOUT THE PROJECT
Why Is It So Important?
RIPPLE Africa’s Disabilities and Rehabilitation Project is a project started in January 2012, which aims to improve the quality of life for people in the local community who are living with disabilities. The Project operates in the Fukamapiri area of the Nkhata Bay District, with a catchment area of roughly 18,000 people – it is estimated that there are over 400 people living with disabilities in the local community who are in need of treatment, rehabilitation, and support. The objectives of the project are to:

  • The crutches will help this youngster to recover from his recent operation
    The crutches will help this youngster to recover from his recent operation
  • Linda, a volunteer physiotherapist, working with a young patient
    Linda, a volunteer physiotherapist, working with a young patient
  • New wheelchairs
    New wheelchairs

RIPPLE Africa works in partnership with existing government systems to identify, treat, and support the people in the community who have been unable to access help. We estimate there are about 200 people in our catchment area who are in need of support but are not currently accessing treatment, and it is these people that our Disabilities and Rehabilitation Project aims to reach. All services are completely free to the patient.

Malawi’s government provision for people living with disabilities is serviced at a national level through MACOHA (Malawi Council for the Handicapped); however, areas are so large and funding limited that thousands of patients slip through the system without identification, treatment, and support.

To implement the project, RIPPLE Africa has employed its own Community Based Rehabilitation Coordinator. Collins Chanika, who helped RIPPLE Africa develop the project and was the first to carry out that role sadly passed away in 2015, but we are delighted that we have now taken on Matilda Mwale, a locally based Special Educational Needs teacher who is ensuring that the great work that he started continues. Matilda:

In addition to this clinical care at household level, the project also encompasses an awareness campaign to tackle the social stigma and misunderstandings surrounding disabilities in the community. This campaign will be the first of its kind in our area, and Matilda will conduct regular talks about disabilities to local primary schools, secondary schools, church groups, and local health clubs within the Fukamapiri area.

The project includes funding for referrals, mobility aids, and equipment such as crutches, sitting/standing frames, push carts etc. which can be constructed locally.

Larger specialist items such as wheelchairs, made-to-measure prosthetics, or specialist surgeries may on occasion need to be handled outside this budget and funds raised on an individual basis; however, the majority of cases will be able to fit within the arranged budget, and many rehabilitation cases require no aids or funding at all besides access to our rehabilitation services.

This project is supported by RIPPLE Africa’s overseas volunteering programme, which benefits from the input of physiotherapists, doctors and nurses who can provide care and specialist advice.

Some of the disabilities that the project has dealt with include:

The goal in every case is to identify the person who needs support and work to improve their quality of life and enable them to live as independently and as happily as possible within their local community.

The desire to lead a productive and independent life is a universal human need; however, for people living with a disability, this desire can be compromised by a physical, medical, or mental condition which can severely hamper an individual’s quality of life. This is true for people living with a disability anywhere in the world; however, in Malawi, living with a disability can be a life sentence. A lack of identification, treatment, rehabilitation, and support can mean a disability is a complete barrier to participation in local society. For example:

Every person with a disability deserves an equal chance of living a better life! RIPPLE Africa’s Disability and Rehabilitation Project provides that — and brings hope and happiness to people who may otherwise have given up.

What We Have Achieved

How We Work

Our Community Based Rehabilitation provider is told about patients by health staff in the area, schools and other members of the local community. He then visits to make an assessment and look for simple solutions to problems identified.

Matilda is supported by RIPPLE Africa’s volunteer physiotherapists, nurses and doctors who visit clients with her, advise on treatments and help develop the aids and exercise programmes that are required. Where we can, we use local workmen to help us make walking aids etc. rather than buy in expensive equipment.
We work in partnership with Malawi Council for the Handicapped (MACOHA), local clinics and a local NGO called 500 Miles who supply patients with prosthetic limbs.

The Project’s Future

We intend to continue the project and are currently seeking new funding to ensure its long term success.

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