SPINAL cord damage has made millions of people disabled and poor, hence there is a need to do something about it.
According to Comprehensive Community Based Rehabilitation in Tanzania (CCBRT), there are 4.2 million people living with disabilities in Tanzania and are among the poorest and most marginalised in society.
The exclusion of people with disabilities from the workplace either through discrimination or inaccessible work environment is estimated to cost Tanzania $480m every year.
To mitigate the situation, Motivation Africa, which is part of Motivation, an international development charity and social enterprise seeks to enable them have independence and opportunities.
Since November 2017 the charity has been working with Kilimanjaro Association of Spinal Cord Injuries (KASI) and Moshi Cooperative University (MoCU) to support people with spinal cord injuries in Kilimanjaro and Arusha regions.
Mr Goodluck Chanyika, a senior official with Motivation in the country, told ‘Daily News’ recently that under a project dubbed ‘Rebuilding Lives, Growing Livelihoods’, it has given people wheelchairs, training and instilling in them new skills so they could earn incomes, live independent lives and provide for their families.
“As part of this project, participants were loaned cameras to take photographs of everyday challenges they face in their homes and communities.
The photos show how difficult it can be to get around towns and cities as a wheelchair user. They also show that people with disabilities can work and achieve great things when they are given opportunities and support,” said Mr Chanyika.
Motivation has since invited government leaders and revealed an exhibition of photographs as a means to raise public awareness of the disabled rights and inclusion in Tanzania.
The charity aims at providing better information on life with a disability in the country and encourage politicians to formulate laws that create equality for people with disabilities so that they can improve their lives.
Mr Goodwill Linus from Hai District in Kilimanjaro is one of those with spinal cord damage and also KASI chairman who got a disability after falling from a tree.
He has since been trained by Motivation in leadership, financial administration and entrepreneurship. He conducts agricultural activities, keeps livestock and rears chickens.
Another beneficiary is Mr Deo Mushi (25) from Tarakea, Rombo who, became disabled after being knocked down by a car while riding his motorbike on his way to his office in 2017. He has failed to get further treatment due to lack of resources and cooperation from his family. Motivation has provided him with a wheelchair and a layer poultry farm. He has 42 so far.
Another beneficiary is Ms Linda Swai from Moshi Municipal Council who has lived with the challenge since 1993. She has been supported with a retail shop project. She pleads with the government to support them by making public transport more friendly to them. All beneficiaries are provided with wheelchairs.