In June 2016, the Walkabout team headed back to Kenya for our third distribution at the United Disabled People of Laikipia (UDPL) clinic in the town of Nanyuki, located at the foothills of Mount Kenya. We distributed 230 wheelchairs (an assortment of Tough Riders, paediatric chairs and tricycles) and, as always, we were struck by the immense friendliness and positivity of everyone we met – from grateful recipients to the incredible local volunteers.
For the first few days of our trip, we were joined by a group of 12 teachers from Greenwich Country Day School in Connecticut, USA. Their interactions with the recipients were filled with love and respect, and their energy and dedication truly enhanced everyone’s experience on the trip.
After long days of fitting each recipient to each wheelchair, our Programs Manager and new staff member, lzzy and Merren, then took part in a World Health Organisation Wheelchair Provision training course. Walkabout not only funded this training for our own employees, but also for the local volunteers that we rely on in Nanyuki.
Our last few days in Kenya were then spent applying our new knowledge while we modified and fitted chairs for children with severe and complex disabilities. It was extremely rewarding work, with our modifications often meaning that these disabled kids could hold their heads up alone or sit up straight for the first time. When asked what he was going to do with his new chair, 14 –year-old William said simply: “I’m going to be comfortable!”
We are so grateful to our partners in Nanyuki, UDPL, who always make us feel at home and whose support is invaluable. And the biggest thank you goes to you, our donors, whose generosity makes all of this possible.
In June 2015 Walkabout Foundation travelled back to the United Disabled Persons of Laikipia (UDPL) clinic in Nanyuki, Kenya, to distribute a further 200 wheelchairs. This year we also funded our first ever World Health Organisation Wheelchair Provision Training run by our supplier and partner, Association for the Physically Disabled of Kenya (APDK).
During the first week, nine local Kenyans and one Walkabout team member were fully trained in how to medically assess, fit and support wheelchair recipients. Our local partner, UDPL carefully hand-picked those who would be trained, individuals who work within the disabled community but lacked the fundamental knowledge and skills to serve those who need wheelchairs. Empowered by their training, Walkabout now has a network of motivated and proficient local volunteers who can serve wheelchair users on a day-to-day basis, even while our team is not present.
The following week they were able to put their new abilities into practice. With the help of UDPL, a few physios, local volunteers and a team of faculty members from Greenwhich County Day School in Connecticut, Walkabout distributed 200 rough terrain wheelchairs to adults and children in desperate need of one.
The entire team were deeply moved and humbled to see the impact that one wheelchair has. It really is indescribable the moment of pure joy when someone first moves onto their new wheelchair, you can see a world of opportunity open up on their face in an instant. As President Clinton insightfully said at the recent Walkabout Inaugural Gala: “It’s not just mobility, it’s possibility.”
Thank you to all of our volunteers, partners and most of all to our supporters who made all of this possible.
Charity Nana (yes, her first name is Charity!) experienced a lifetime of isolation and continually struggled to gain acceptance in her community. Since receiving one of our ToughRider wheelchairs in 2014, she has devoted her life to supporting the disabled. She visits parents and guardians of children with disabilities, bringing practical help, encouragement and fresh hope to those who are so often ignored.
Team Walkabout were in Kenya for the first time in January 2014. Stefanie and Bryony flew out to Nanyuki for a full five day distribution alongside the United Disabled Persons of Laikipia (UDPL) during which 200 wheelchairs were fitted. As part of the official inauguration of their brand new disability centre, various members of the local government, including the Governor of Laikipia himself and the Minister of Health for the area, came to meet the team and show their support for the project. Kenya is making leaps and bounds in the support of those living with a disability and it’s a model that Walkabout hope to see more of across the developing world.
Some of the lives changed in Kenya include 33 year-old Martin, a signwriter known by almost everyone in the local community, who is paralysed from the waist down. He will now be able to work twice as fast at his workshop desk because he won’t have to use one hand just to balance as he works.
Walkabout would like to commend UDPL on their outstanding commitment to helping the disabled community of Laikipia, Kenya and their extremely hard work in helping to put together a very organised and successful week. Special thanks also go to Emmeline Carr of The Oriana Project for the introduction to UDPL as well as to her parents Laura and Peter for their invaluable help throughout the week.
In Kenya they say, ‘Disability is not Inability’, and we couldn’t agree more. Hakuna Matata!