Twelve Weeks of Christmas – Week 2

Welcome to the second week of our 12 Weeks of Christmas stories. If you want to make a difference to people’s lives in Malawi, why don’t you buy a Christmas gift from our Christmas Gift Catalogue.

A gift of just £8 could repair a wheelchair for a disabled child
just like Mike

For 14 year old Mike his wheelchair is his lifeline. In Malawi living with a disability can be a life sentence.

He is able to see his friends, go to school and feel part of the community, without the wheelchair he would be stuck at home missing out on fun and his education.

Logistically, many people with movement restrictions are physically unable to leave their homes, many having spent their entire lives in isolation within the four walls of their home. Children are unable to attend school simply because they can’t physically get there.

Through our Disabilities and Rehabilitation project we work to improve the lives of children like Mike and the quality of life of their carer, to enable that person to live as independently and as happily as possible within their local community.

A lack of identification, treatment, rehabilitation, and support can mean a disability is a complete barrier to participation in local society. People with disabilities are often ostracised and cast aside. Socially, many local people believe that a disability is the result of witchcraft or “black magic”, and as a result are not properly identified.

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. Collins Chanika, Senior Healthcare Co-ordinator, identifies patients who could be considered for the project, conducts regular home visits to provide clinical rehabilitation, identifies candidates for mobility equipment and arrange for the order/delivery/use of such equipment, organises community support groups for carers and patients, and makes referrals to relevant partnership bodies and hospitals where applicable.

Collins is an amazing man and is well respected throughout the Nkhata Bay District and really does change lives forever. The local families adore Collins, he has an incredible rapport with the children and his approach is gentle and very effective. He is a great asset to RIPPLE Africa.

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 is the first of its kind in our area; RIPPLE Africa conducts regular talks about disabilities to local community groups within the area.

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

On behalf of Mike and other disabled children, a big Thank You for taking the time to read more about our Healthcare project.

Tawonga Ukongwa!

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