Error message

  • Notice: Undefined offset: 42 in user_node_load() (line 3691 of /home/mapmw/public_html/rebuild/modules/user/user.module).
  • Notice: Trying to get property of non-object in user_node_load() (line 3691 of /home/mapmw/public_html/rebuild/modules/user/user.module).
  • Notice: Undefined offset: 42 in user_node_load() (line 3692 of /home/mapmw/public_html/rebuild/modules/user/user.module).
  • Notice: Trying to get property of non-object in user_node_load() (line 3692 of /home/mapmw/public_html/rebuild/modules/user/user.module).
  • Notice: Undefined offset: 42 in user_node_load() (line 3693 of /home/mapmw/public_html/rebuild/modules/user/user.module).
  • Notice: Trying to get property of non-object in user_node_load() (line 3693 of /home/mapmw/public_html/rebuild/modules/user/user.module).
  • Notice: Undefined offset: 42 in user_node_load() (line 3691 of /home/mapmw/public_html/rebuild/modules/user/user.module).
  • Notice: Trying to get property of non-object in user_node_load() (line 3691 of /home/mapmw/public_html/rebuild/modules/user/user.module).
  • Notice: Undefined offset: 42 in user_node_load() (line 3692 of /home/mapmw/public_html/rebuild/modules/user/user.module).
  • Notice: Trying to get property of non-object in user_node_load() (line 3692 of /home/mapmw/public_html/rebuild/modules/user/user.module).
  • Notice: Undefined offset: 42 in user_node_load() (line 3693 of /home/mapmw/public_html/rebuild/modules/user/user.module).
  • Notice: Trying to get property of non-object in user_node_load() (line 3693 of /home/mapmw/public_html/rebuild/modules/user/user.module).
  • Notice: Undefined offset: 42 in user_node_load() (line 3691 of /home/mapmw/public_html/rebuild/modules/user/user.module).
  • Notice: Trying to get property of non-object in user_node_load() (line 3691 of /home/mapmw/public_html/rebuild/modules/user/user.module).
  • Notice: Undefined offset: 42 in user_node_load() (line 3692 of /home/mapmw/public_html/rebuild/modules/user/user.module).
  • Notice: Trying to get property of non-object in user_node_load() (line 3692 of /home/mapmw/public_html/rebuild/modules/user/user.module).
  • Notice: Undefined offset: 42 in user_node_load() (line 3693 of /home/mapmw/public_html/rebuild/modules/user/user.module).
  • Notice: Trying to get property of non-object in user_node_load() (line 3693 of /home/mapmw/public_html/rebuild/modules/user/user.module).
  • Notice: Undefined offset: 42 in user_node_load() (line 3691 of /home/mapmw/public_html/rebuild/modules/user/user.module).
  • Notice: Trying to get property of non-object in user_node_load() (line 3691 of /home/mapmw/public_html/rebuild/modules/user/user.module).
  • Notice: Undefined offset: 42 in user_node_load() (line 3692 of /home/mapmw/public_html/rebuild/modules/user/user.module).
  • Notice: Trying to get property of non-object in user_node_load() (line 3692 of /home/mapmw/public_html/rebuild/modules/user/user.module).
  • Notice: Undefined offset: 42 in user_node_load() (line 3693 of /home/mapmw/public_html/rebuild/modules/user/user.module).
  • Notice: Trying to get property of non-object in user_node_load() (line 3693 of /home/mapmw/public_html/rebuild/modules/user/user.module).

The plight of persons with disabilities in rural Malawi

By George Chimatiro (physiotherapist) and Danielle Morante (occupational therapist)

The call from innocent souls is growing faint, as nobody seems to hear the desperate cry of persons living with disabilities. They are weeping and nobody cares about their troubles. They are now going deeper into their disability, and wallowing in poverty. Yes, true to research findings a disability causes poverty, and you need to go spend time in the community in order to appreciate what they are going through.

 

The unfortunate thing is that Malawi Against Physical Disabilities (MAP), an organization that provides rehabilitation services across the country through its outreach services, is no longer operational due to lack of funding. Indeed the halt to MAP Outreach Program has far reaching consequences on the innocents, particularly in Rural Malawi. Recently with the help of my colleague Danielle Morante, we combined our efforts to transport three wheelchairs to Manyamba-Bango village in TA Laston Njema’s area, Mulanje, for three clients who are living with disabilities. Read on.

 

On Monday 22nd September, 2014 we set out from Blantyre. It is mildly cloudy but will be crisp and sunny as the day wears on. At 12.30pm we arrive at the first client’s home. Her name is Kitty. Kitty is 48 year old polio client who has lived with the condition for 46 years. Upon hearing the sound of our vehicle she crawls from behind her small grass-thatched hut that is positioned between four other houses. She mostly uses her arms as her lower half is not developed due to polio. She springs on her arms up a large step to sit on the verandah. In less than two minutes the home is swarmed by curious children and adults, with faces of happiness and anticipation. She greets us with the air of relief around her, “I couldn’t believe today you would be here…” she breathed, narrating her bitter experience of living for over two years without a wheelchair, “…I was confined, I could do nothing, no business, no church, no participation in the other community activities for over two years…” she says, the emotion and joy evident as she climbs without assistance onto the tricycle.

 

Kitty operating her new tricycle independently

Kitty is supplied with a tricycle fabricated in the MAP workshop. This tricycle remained dormant in the organization’s workshop for over two years due to the

 

 

cessation of MAP Outreach activities. The tricycle will now allow her to access the wider community independently. Kitty plans to return to her business selling fritters and she will use her tricycle to conduct deliveries.

 

After visiting Kitty we make a stopover at Malilima LEA School. A chat with the head teacher, Mr. Malinda exposes challenges experienced by a sixteen year old pupil with a disability. He is in standard 8 and using an old wheelchair. He is experiencing difficulties with class work due to lack of a wheelchair tray table, for leaning on and resting items within reach. School life has grown tough for him “…writing is difficult for him”, says Mr. Malinda who hoped we brought one wheelchair for the pupil. Sadly we did not. We were unaware there was a needy child at that school. It was unfortunate that we couldn’t help him. He was last attended to by MAP Outreach over two years ago. We were required to move on to the next client.

 

Next was Joseph. He is 10yrs old and has Cerebral Palsy, a condition that affects the brain anytime between birth to 5 years of age. As a result he is unable to walk or talk, and requires assistance for all his daily activities including feeding and toileting. Joseph has been using a

standard adult wheelchair which was provided by well wishers, for some time. Evidently it hasn’t been providing the necessary support required for comfortable positioning for Joseph.

 

             Joseph and his old wheelchair

Thanks to MAP and with funds brought together by the two of us, we were able to transport and fit the wheelchair. Joseph will now be able to attend school, participate in community group

 

 

 

Joseph in his new wheelchair

gatherings and use the tray table for everyday activities. “…I stopped him attending school because that wheelchair wasn’t safe for him…the other day he almost fainted as his small body got squeezed through that hole at the back there…” his mother pointed at the old wheelchair. “…now this is ideal for his schooling, I am definitely taking him back there tomorrow!” the mother sounded determined.

 

 

The last client we visited was Fatsileni. She is 5 yrs old and has Cerebral Palsy. She is unable to control her head and trunk. She is not able to walk or talk and requires assistance with all her basic activities. Fatsileni's mother has carried her using a chitenje since she was born, which has been tough work. Fatsileni was provided and fitted with a new wheelchair donated through MAP. She is now able to be seated in a suitable position and can move safely around the community with the assistance of family and friends. Fatsileni’s mother couldn’t hide her feelings “…she has been on my back since birth, and as you see she is a big girl now…it hasn’t been easy” she looks down, “thanks for this wheelchair”, she is delighted!  

MAP staff received a warm welcome from the village children who were excited to see the new wheelchairs provided for their siblings and friends.

As our trip concludes we think, “What about that school boy… and all the others not yet reached?”

 

         Fatsileni is happy in her new wheelchair

 

 

 

 

“No one has ever become poor by giving.” Anne Frank, diary of Anne Frank

Contact Us

We have several units across Malawi, find below our headquarters contacts:

Quick Links