Advocating for the Rights of the Disabled
Assistive devices are not a priviledge for the diabled, but they are a right for the diabled to have mobility, and to lead a normal life.
First of all, my ability to do a lot of things is through MOTIVATION UK, which made me to believe in myself that being disabled is not the end of the world.
In Africa, wheelchairs are often given away without proper assessment and prescription. Consequently, many disabled people would suffer from illnesses such as pressure sores, deformities, and respiratory problems. I believe that it is time now to take action and make a change in this situation.
Twice a year, Kilimanjaro Association for Spinal-cord Injuries (KASI) organizes a week-long peer group training camp for the disabled in the region. I participate as a peer trainer in teaching other disabled people how to lead a normal life. I educate other disabled people on topics such as: how to avoid and treat pressure sores, how to have normal relationships, and how to make a living in a wheelchair.
At Tanzania Training Centre for Wheelchair Technologists (TATCOT), I teach part time on topics of wheelchair skills and wheelchair spoking. I also teach occupational therapist students at the KCM College on general topics on wheelchairs.
I have recently started a project to help improve the life of the disabled through sports. I was one of the members in the sports committee to build a basketball court on the KCMC campus. It is currently open for the disabled to use. The KCMC Wheelchair Workshop is also working on making a sports chair design for production.
Over the last few years, I have made a connection with Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In the winter of 2007, I was a guest lecturer for the class Wheelchair Design for Developing Countries. Three MIT students have travelled to Tanzania to continue their projects at the KCMC Wheelchair Workshop in the summer of 2007 (check out their blogs: Tish and Shirley).
I have travelled to Uganda and Afganistan to train others on wheelchair technology. In addition, I assessed the quality of their products and advised workshops on how to improve their products.
I am actively involved in starting the International Workshop for Peer Group Trainers in writing "Wheelchair Guidelines in Developing Countries" sponsored by the World Health Organization (WHO) and United States Agency for International Development (USAID). In 2005, I participated in the initial meeting in U.K., and traveled to Romania for peer group training.
I would also like to explore other ways to raise awareness of these human rights issues in East Africa through music and movies. Currently, I am trying to learn how to write and produce music at home.