Mariam’s story

Mariam lives in Uganda. She is 21 years old, and a single mother with a 9 month old baby boy. She contracted cerebral malaria at the age of 1, and has been unable to walk since. She has never before had access to a wheelchair.

In spite of spending her entire life on the ground, Mariam clearly gets on with life as best she can. She shares a small patch of land with her mother, which they farm together to grow the food they live on. She even dragged herself to school every day until she was 11, determined to get an education. When we met her, she had travelled all the way to the distribution alone, taking a boat and then a three hour motorbike journey, having fashioned a sling so that she could carry her son on her back.

When we gave Mariam her first ever chair, staying true to her independent and determined character, got into it completely alone, keeping her son strapped to her back the entire time. She was delighted to finally be sitting in an upright position, at the eye level of others, and immediately began sharing her plans to rent a sewing machine and earn some money to support her small family.