"We love our boy so much. We just want him to be happy and to socialise with other kids every day." Daniel, Tanzania

This is two-year-old Deo. He lives with his parents, Daniel and Irene, and siblings in Mererani, a small, hilly region of Tanzania. When Deo was six months old Irene noticed that he wasn’t developing as quickly as other children his age and felt floppy to hold. Concerned, she sought medical advice and Deo was diagnosed with cerebral palsy – a condition his parents didn’t know or understand. 

In many parts of Tanzania, having a disabled child is a source of shame and Irene found it very difficult to accept her son’s diagnosis at first. She worried how people would treat Deo and felt reluctant to take him out of the house in case the neighbours taunted them:

 In Mererani, if people see you having a child with disability, they can call you different names.

The area surrounding Mererani is home to nearly all of the world’s Tanzanite reserves but wealth from the mining industries hasn’t trickled down and pockets of extreme poverty remain. Deo’s parents earn a living by running a small shop selling household items to their neighbours. The profits from the shop are their only income and are quickly absorbed by Deo’s medical costs and travel to the rehabilitation centre in Moshi.

Isolated and struggling financially, Deo’s parents needed support and, last year, help arrived when they attended a cerebral palsy training course organised by one of Motivation’s partners in Tanzania, CCBRT. At the training, Daniel and Irene were given information about caring for Deo and also about his basic rights. With their new found confidence, they no longer hide him away and are able to educate people who discriminate against them - Deo now goes to the shop with his mother and the family attend church together every Sunday.

The training opened our minds – we feel good about our son!

Following the training, Deo has gone from strength to strength. He was referred to a local wheelchair service and fitted with a new Moti-Start supportive seat, designed to help him sit upright so that he can eat, breathe and communicate more easily. Deo used to need to be carried constantly or propped up in a corner to keep him upright, but now he can sit comfortably, Irene has a free pair hands and can spend more time working at the shop to support the family.

For Deo’s parents, the highlight has been seeing their son play with his toys and interact his brothers and sisters - things he couldn’t do before. They are now looking forward to him starting school when he is old enough so that he can meet other children. Smiling at Deo, Daniel says:

 We love our boy so much. We just want him to be happy and to socialise with other kids every day.

Heads held high...

Sitting upright is crucial for the healthy development of children like Deo. His supportive seat cost just £70. To ensure that more kids like Deo get the best start in life, you can make a gift by donating to us.

*Some names have been changed