For children and families living with disabilities in Kenya, a wheelchair can make a powerful difference.
In Europe and the UK, most mothers have access to good quality prenatal care and vaccinations for their children. As a result, diseases such as polio – which were once common here – have been eradicated from our communities. The global health community has made significant progress in fighting polio around the world, however there are millions of people living with the consequences of polio infection. Children who survive polio are often left with weakness or paralysis in their legs.
Bombolulu Workshops is a Fair Trade organisation in Kenya. Bombolulu was established 40 years ago to provide opportunities for physically challenged people, many of whom were polio survivors.
Today one of the most common reasons why children in Kenya are disabled is cerebral palsy. Cerebral palsy is caused by brain damage during pregnancy, birth or infancy – often because the mother is unable to access needed medical care. Less than half of births in Kenya are attended by a midwife or doctor. When complications happen during pregnancy or birth and the mother is unable to get help quickly, the baby’s developing brain may be deprived of oxygen. As a result, the baby may be born with cerebral palsy.
While the families of children born with disabilities in Europe are able to access treatments to help them develop and lead full lives, families of disabled children in Kenya seldom have the same options. Without therapy and medical treatment, cerebral palsy worsens over time, leaving a child progressively more disabled. For a family living in poverty in Kenya, the burden of caring for a child who is disabled can be desperate.
But there is a way you can help…
For 20 years, People Tree has partnered with the artisans at Bombolulu Workshops to create beautiful handmade jewellery. In addition to producing jewellery and other crafts, Bombolulu makes wheelchairs that are designed for life in Kenya and bumpy village roads. Two years ago, People Tree started the wheelchair campaign with Bombolulu to change the lives of children and families affected by disabilities in Kenya.
The People Tree Wheelchair Campaign
People Tree is partnering with Bombolulu to donate wheelchairs to children. These wheelchairs will make a powerful difference in the lives of children and their families. The wheelchairs will allow children to go to school and to socialize in their communities. Having a supportive wheelchair can help the child grow stronger and develop new skills. The wheelchairs will also empower the mothers and fathers who are caring for disabled children, giving them more freedom and opportunity.
People Tree estimates that there are at least 1,000 children in Kenya living with the cerebral palsy or other disabilities who are in need of wheelchairs. In July 2013, People Tree Founder and CEO Safia Minney travelled to Bombolulu to donate wheelchairs to 15 children. We hope this will be just the beginning of a partnership that will help many more children in the future.
For every 100 pieces* of Bombolulu jewellery that People Tree sells, we will donate a wheelchair to one child.
When you purchase beautiful handcrafted jewellery from Bombolulu you are already making a difference by supporting livelihoods for disabled artisans through Fair Trade – but through the Wheelchair Campaign your purchase will go even further. Go here to shop.
In this video, go behind the scenes of Safia Minney’s trip to Kenya and discover how the Wheelchair Campaign will create change.
*Wheelchair Campaign includes all Bombolulu Jewellery priced at at least £10 per item.