Active Events Stories
Active Events

Selina’s story

Selina is the youngest of 7 children. She was displaced from her home in South Sudan two years ago; her loving parents travelled for three days, her mother carrying her on her back, to get to safety at the Ugandan border. Born with cerebral palsy, Selina has never been able to walk, therefore relying on her older siblings to carry her to school. As she grew, she became too heavy for her sisters to bear her weight on the three hour walk, so they would often leave her on the side of the road and only pick her up on their way back home. Now, thanks to her first ever wheelchair, Selina will be able to return to school, and she’ll be able to play with her siblings rather than being left inside alone. For Selina, her wheelchair means the opportunity to have a childhood – something that every little girl deserves.

Richard’s story

Richard arrived at our distribution dragging himself along the dirt floor with the help of a rice bag underneath him. He had suffered a serious hip injury a few years before, dislocating it and leaving his right leg extremely difficult to move. Without the help of any medical attention or physiotherapy, his condition worsened and rendered him immobile and unable to stand, let alone walk. He has never had access to a wheelchair.

Richard has lived in Palorinya refugee camp in Moyo, Uganda, since he had to flee his home in South Sudan when the war broke out. He was overjoyed with his first ever wheelchair, which means that he will be able to regain the dignity that he has lacked for so long.

Jida and Maria’s story

In March 2017, best friends Maria Ricart Karaouni and Jida Khazaal approached Walkabout with a huge goal: to raise enough money for an entire container of wheelchairs for their home country, Guinea.

One huge tennis tournament, one donated birthday, and many generous friends, family members and colleagues later, Jida and Maria had achieved their goal. So in October 2017 – just six months after the fundraising began – Team Walkabout headed to Guinea for the first time ever to distribute 175 life-changing wheelchairs.

Guinea is one of the poorest countries in the world, with an estimated 55% of inhabitants living below the poverty line. There is little provision for, and huge stigma surrounding, people with disabilities, and many of the people we met had spent their whole lives crawling on the floor, often wearing flip-flops on their hands, to get around.

We are incredibly grateful to Jida, Maria, and all the kind donors who made it possible to change the lives of 175 people in desperate need. If you’re inspired by their story and would like to fundraise to single-handedly transform lives, get involved today!

Kevin’s story

Kevin is 5 years old and lives with his mother Jane and younger brother in Nanyuki. He has cerebral palsy, which has meant that he has never been able to walk. Before he started attending the Walkabout Daycare & Support Centre, Kevin spent most of his time at home, not able to socialise with other children his age. A single mother, Jane was also forced to stay at home with Kevin, unable to go out to run the business that used to provide vital income for the family. Kevin joined our centre in 2016, and thanks to the regular therapy he has received so far, he has learnt to walk with a rollator and stand without support. Jane says that he loves coming and interacting with the other children – so much so that sometimes he refuses to have breakfast in the morning because he’s worried about being late!

Arielle’s story

 

Walkabout Ambassador Arielle Rausin, a 21-year-old Team USA Paralympic athlete from Florida, joined us in Kenya in 2017, after raising enough money for 10 wheelchairs in the 2017 London Marathon. All the children on the distribution loved talking to Arielle about her racing, and she taught them how to push and transfer into their new chairs. For many of the recipients, and for their parents, meeting Arielle demonstrated first-hand all the possibilities that are available with the mobility of a wheelchair. And there really is no better way to learn how to use your first ever wheelchair than practicing with a world-class athlete!

Joseph’s Story

Joseph is 6 years old and lives with his father Samuel, mother Julia, and baby sister Eunice. Samuel is a self-trained plumber, but the work is temporary and he is often without a job. Since Julia is forced to spend all day at home looking after Joseph and Eunice, she is unable to work, and as a result the entire family must survive on less than $2 a day. All four of them live in a tiny single room in one of the sprawling slums of Nanyuki, Kenya.

Joseph suffered from pneumonia when he was just four months old, and again a year later. As a result, he has been unable to walk and has little strength in his hands. Because of this, he has not joined a mainstream school like most children his age, in spite of his clear intelligence.

Since Joseph joined the Walkabout Daycare and Support Centre, he has made incredible progress. He loves being around other children, and now that he has been given the opportunity to learn, he is excelling in his education. The staff at our centre are confident that he will soon be able to join a mainstream school.

Julia will now have time for a job and hopes to start a small business selling vegetables and charcoal. This will give the family a crucial second wage to live on, which will make a real difference, giving both Joseph and Eunice a brighter future.

Dharmender’s story

Dharmender is 11 years old and comes from a very poor family who live in a rural village outside Varanasi. When he joined our centre last year, he was barely able to sit up without support – let alone walk – and spent all his time sitting or lying inside his house. Thanks to the daily physiotherapy he receives at the centre, he has learnt how to walk independently with a rollator, and can even take a number of steps completely unassisted.

In spite of his new found mobility, outreach staff from the centre noticed that Dharmender was still struggling to move around his house or go to the toilet independently because the ground inside and outside the house was made of mud and very bumpy, while the family’s only toilet was the shared toilet in the field outside their house. To solve this issue, we concreted the floor of the house, added a ramp and railing outside, and built a toilet inside. This means that Dharmender can now move around and perform all of his daily living activities independently. He clearly loves being able to move by himself – and soon he will even be able to walk to the bus stop on his own!

Aakash’s story

Aakash is 8 years old and is a sweet, intelligent boy with an adorable smile. When Aakash’s mother was pregnant with him, she was unwell, but couldn’t afford to go to the doctor. Aakash was born with cerebral palsy, and was never able to walk. Nor did he ever go to school – in spite of his intellectual ability – and spent most of his time inside his house, a one room hut in a village outside Varanasi. When we first met Aakash, we gave him a wheelchair and enrolled him at our centre, ensuring that he received regular therapy and education. We also sent our community outreach team to travel to his house and modify it by adding a ramp, railing and concrete throughout. These changes made a huge difference to Aakash’s life. Now that his house no longer has steps or an uneven, muddy floor, he can move around it in his wheelchair, and will no longer have to sit in the mud during monsoon season. What’s more, thanks to the physiotherapy he receives at the centre daily, he is learning to walk, and the therapists at the centre are confident that he will soon be able to do so independently. He practices his walking outside his house holding on to the newly installed railing – with a look of much concentration and a big smile on his face! Perhaps most exciting of all is that, after years of being unable to go to school, Aakash is now able to get an education. He has learned to read and write (both in Hindi and English), knows his times tables, and loves to paint. He is incredibly studious and determined, and enjoys helping other students with their work. Now that he’s been able to catch up on all the years that he’s missed, he is attending a mainstream school every day – and receiving the education that he, and every other child, no matter their circumstances, deserves.

Prakash’s story

In June 2017, we distributed 136 chairs in Bangalore and Varanasi, in some cases reaching recipients from extremely remote villages. It was here that we met Prakash, a 14 year old boy whose last wheelchair broke four years ago. This was the first time he had left his house since. Prakash was initially extremely shy – understandable for someone who has been inside one room for the past four years. But little by little, he began to relax, telling us how excited he was to finally be able to move around his village again and regain the independence that he deserves.

Ram Krishna’s story

Ram Krishna is from Nepal, and was working for a hydropower company when he was electrocuted while climbing an electricity pole 4 years ago. He and his then-girlfriend, Sarita, got married after his accident because “they realised how much they needed each other”. Our translator tells me this is very rare in Nepal – normally people leave their partners when they are injured, worried that they will have to care for them. Being a young person and dealing with a spinal cord injury must be incredibly difficult, but Sarita and Ram Krishna are so happy and clearly in love that, when you’re around them, it’s easy to forget the hardship they’ve been through.

Siddanth’s story

Siddanth is 12 years old, and lives in Nepal. He was injured in a road traffic accident when he was just 4. Because he had no wheelchair, his mother, unaware of the damage that it would do, kept him inside all the time – his father had left and she couldn’t afford to take him to school. When community outreach officers from our partner SIRC found him, he had multiple serious pressure sores, because he had been spending all his time lying in one room.

He was brought to the centre, where he received rehabilitation and treatment for his sores, and staff have made sure that he and his mother are staying in a hostel nearby so that he can attend school. Siddanth was clearly very shy when he arrived at the distribution (which is unsurprising, given that he has spent most of his life in just one room with his mother and has rarely interacted with others), but when he was asked to help put together one of the wheelchairs, he relaxed and enjoyed helping out. He especially loved the Coke and biscuit that he received as a reward!

Sofia’s story

Sofia had just given birth to her son Quima when we first met her back in 2014. She has been paralysed since she contracted polio at a young age.

Sofia lives with Quima, her parents, 10 siblings, and 12 nieces and nephews. The family used to own a large coffee plantation and lived comfortably, but when the crops were hit by a disease, they were left with nothing. Sofia’s parents must now support the entire household on very little, growing their own food and selling the small amount they don’t consume.

When Sofia received her Walkabout wheelchair in 2014, it gave her hope – both for herself and for her son, who was just weeks old at the time. Now that we’ve given her a trike, this hope has been amplified; she will be able to help her parents on their farm, as well as go further afield to search for other work and provide for Quima.