Feruzi lives in Kiangai and has Cerebral Palsy. Both his parents are very supportive and do their best to take care of him and each other. After receiving his wheelchair life became so much better for Feruzi and his parents! Now they can take him to church, and he is much more involved in his local community. His wheelchair makes it so much easier for his parents to move him around and he can play with his toys using the tray attached to the chair!
Almasi is from Karatina in Kenya. Since receiving her wheelchair her quality of life has improved so much, she is one of the happiest children in her village! Life was very hard for Almasi before her wheelchair, she was very isolated and couldn’t attend school. Now it is much easier for her to go out, she can travel to school and be much more independent. Her caregiver is also now able to work while Almasi is at school! She feels included in her local community and can participate in more activities when she is at home.
Gacoki is a 38-year-old cobbler and snack-seller in Kenya. His life has been full of physical and emotional challenges, he was born with polio, a condition that caused his body to fold his knees to his chest. His parents did the best they could until missionaries came to his aid and took him in at a young age. When he was 9 years old, he had surgery to straighten out his body and he used crutches to walk around. The missionaries were very supportive, and he went to school up until year 5 which he really enjoyed. Sadly, when he was 12, the missionaries left, and he went back to live with his parents. This wasn’t an easy time for Gacoki, his brothers rejected him as an outcast, and he felt very isolated.
When he was 18, the missionaries were able to get him his first wheelchair! This newfound mobility gave him a sense of dignity and independence. He could start working, using his chair to help him support the goods of his trade, he got married and was with the missionaries where he felt accepted. He took really good care of his chair and it served him well over the last 20 years. Sadly, he suffered a great loss, both his parents and his wife passed away. He left the missionaries 3 years ago and he became incredibly isolated. Despite these hardships, Gacoki remained resilient and hopeful, he discovered Walkabout and things started to turn around. Walkabout gave him a brand-new wheelchair, boosting his mobility and opening possibilities for Gacoki to keep supporting himself. The independence a wheelchair brings gives his life meaning, purpose, and hope for the future.
In July 2018, the Walkabout Team visited our Wheelchair Assembly and Daycare Centre in Nanyuki, Kenya, accompanied by four very special, young volunteers: Ines, Massimo, Giovanni and Greg. Driven by their energy and motivation, we distributed 60 life-changing paediatric wheelchairs.
The young team also dedicated 2 days to painting the classroom walls in our Daycare Centre, where we provide rehabilitation for children with mobility disabilities. Our team added some favourite cartoon characters, showing exceptional artistic skill and creating a fun and interactive space. The kids were very curious about the whole process and the biggest challenge was to make sure that none of them snuck in, leaving their hand prints on the walls!
We are so proud and grateful to our special volunteers for their hard work and commitment to our cause.
In April 2018, we travelled to Kenya to receive a very special container of wheelchairs. This was our first shipment of chairs from Free Wheelchair Mission (FWM), a US-based charity that designs and manufactures high quality, rough-terrain chairs, with whom we are now proud to be working in partnership.
By combining their wheelchair supply with our local contacts and expertise, we have so far been able to distribute 353 life-changing wheelchairs, restoring dignity, freedom and independence to hundreds of Kenyans.
Giving mobility to the millions of people who lack it around the world is a huge job – and we recognise that we can’t do it alone. That’s why we’re so grateful for partnerships with like-minded organisations like FWM, who share our goal of getting the right chairs to those that need it most. In the interconnected world we live in, there’s nothing stopping us from working with others to make a change. Together, we can change the world!
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!
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 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.
In July 2017, we visited Laikipia County, Kenya, where we distributed 228 paediatric chairs alongside our amazing local partner, UDPL. This means that we have now distributed over 1,000 wheelchairs in Kenya, reaching 21 out of the 47 counties, and impacting an estimated 3,000 lives!
When we began distributing chairs with UDPL back in 2014, the need in Laikipia County was immense. Many of the people we met had never before had a wheelchair, and had been forced to drag themselves along the ground to get around or simply spend all of their time inside their homes, isolated and stigmatised. As we began to give out wheelchairs, we started to see a change – every time we returned, we saw fewer people in need from Laikipia, In fact, people were coming from further and further away to get to our distributions – a great indication that what we were doing was really working.
Now, over 1,000 Walkabout wheelchairs are changing lives in 21 counties right across Kenya. That’s 1,000 people that are more visible in their communities; able to work or go to school, and living with the dignity. freedom and independence that they deserve. Thank you for helping us to make this happen!