A wheelchair for Sarah

Joel and Sarah

You may have seen from previous posts, that New Forest Aquaponics CIC is working with Joel Odongo in Eastern Uganda and TANU.  This bit of help I am very pleased to have been involved in. 

One of the people that TANU ( Transformation Agency Network Uganda ) is supporting is Sarah Ajiko. She is 28 and trained in tailoring.  At the moment she has been living with her grandparents, in the Teso region of Eastern Uganda. 

She has a disability that she was born with.  Persons with disabilities account for 8.5 percent of Ugandans. Most live on UGX 2,400 per person per day which is equal to 50p.  The Ugandan government has just produced The persons with Disabilities Act 2020, with the aim of getting more help to people like Sarah. I asked Joel who runs TANU about it and how much help was really available. Joel is a very polite man, I cannot write his reply. 

TANU now have built their youth training rooms, and are excited to start the next phase which is training the young persons who come to them with skills that they can use to earn a living to support themselves, and families and TANU so they can continue helping others to develop skills. 

Sarah has amazing sewing skills, and has the ability to teach the others to sew. using a hand cranked sewing machine. But to do that she needs to have a wheelchair, her grandfather cannot carry her for ever. And she will need to move to TANU from her village, so a plan to achieve this has been put in place. 

I am super pleased to report the first stage of this plan has been achieved with the help of a few people here in the UK. 

Joel had applied for a wheelchair for Sarah from Father Heart Mobility Ministry – who give out wheelchairs for free, check out their work http://fathersheartmobility.org/home

The only problem was that they fit the wheelchairs to each person, making sure they know how to care for the chairs and that the fit is comfortable. That meant a journey of 300 plus miles each way.  To make this achievable for Sarah, they needed to be able to take the faster, better, safer coach.  This was going to cost them far more money than they had, and they had already delayed the journey once and stood the chance of missing out on a chair for Sarah.

So I put out a request on FB, and a few amazing people donated to the cost of the journey. 

Sarah got her first wheelchair at the age of 28.  Thank you to those who made this possible.

On the coach to get the chair.

Joel and Sarah travelled the first day, they treated themselves to bread for lunch, a real treat!  Traffic was bad so they arrived too late to find somewhere to stay. It is not deemed to be safe to walk around many parts of Uganda at night especially in a strange place. So Joel made Sarah comfortable on the coach station seats and made sure she was safe for the rest of the night.  Being in town at first light meant they were first in the queue and by 11 am she had her chair and was fully fitted and shown how to care for it. 

Joel and I talk a lot via fb messenger, sometimes he is sad and worried, sometimes he is happy, but nothing like the call I got from both of them as she received her chair. 

Imagine someone in the UK not getting a wheelchair till they were 28? 

Now think about how much this will change her life. Not only does Sarah have the dignity of being off the ground without someone holding her, she can come to Tanu and work and teach others with the aim of being able to support themselves as a group and individuals.  

Changing Sarah’s life is helping change the lives of those around her. 

Tanu are making ramps to make sure Sarah can get into all the buildings, and have been collecting materials to make her a small home at the skills centre.  Normally for homes they use rammed earth floors, they have made one in the skills centre, but for Sarah and her chair they would like to be able to give her a concrete floor. 

If you would like to help with the next stage of Sarah’s journey the cost of the cement is around £45. You can make a donation here.   

 https://donorbox.org/cement-for-tanu-uganda

We pass all monies directly to TANU, once her home is built we will need to get her a hand cranked machine as hers was stolen last year. Any extra towards the cost (import tax and delivery of the machine has to be paid) would be a huge help.