"I will never allow any person with a spinal cord injury who crosses my path to go through what I went through before I was rescued by Motivation.”

Meet Francis. A trained carpenter, he was working on a client’s roof one day near his home in a remote village in Kenya when he fell and seriously damaged his spinal cord leaving him unable to walk. In a single moment his physical freedom, independence and livelihood were stripped from him.

After the injury, I had to stop work and depend on my mother who does casual jobs in the village to support my family.

This once active family man was now completely reliant on his mother and his wife for all his basic needs, until his wife deserted him. And as the years passed, Francis became more isolated as he watched the world from his poorly-fitting hospital wheelchair which was too heavy to push and not built for the terrain of his village, leaving him trapped in his home.

My life was very difficult. I was using an orthopaedic wheelchair given to me by the hospital, which I could not move outside of my home. I used to spend most of my days sleeping.

His heath soon deteriorated. He was suffering from untreated pressure sores, which began to smell, and incontinence, because he didn’t know how to manage his bladder or bowel. Francis began to feel worthless…a burden on those around him.

My self-esteem was low and I hated people because I was feeling very helpless.

This is not an uncommon story. Eighty percent of disabled people in developing countries live in poverty, unable to access work. And in countries like Kenya, stigma and discrimination remain rife, which makes finding work a major challenge and only serves to reinforce negative attitudes towards you within your community.

When Francis felt desperate, Motivation was there. They ensured that he received a wheelchair suitable for his environment, taught him how to use it and provided training, delivered by wheelchair users, on how to look after his health, understand his rights and build his self-esteem.

Within just five days of the training I was a transformed person. The skills I learnt liberated me. I wish Motivation could train more people with spinal cord injuries because this training saved my life.

 

Francis’ wheelchair cost just £140; and one day of training cost £88. This has enabled him to re-join his community, return to work, and share his experiences to help other disabled people access the same support and information that saved his life. 

My dream is to empower persons with spinal cord injuries through sharing the skills I gained during the training. I will never allow any person with a spinal cord injury who crosses my path to go through what I went through before I was rescued by Motivation.

Francis now sees himself differently. He is a human being with rights, just like any other person, rather than feeling helpless due to his disability.

Motivation recently met up with Francis and we are delighted to hear that he has not only re-opened his carpentry workshop, but he has employed two people to work alongside him.

Today I am happy and proud to own a business.

Francis' story is the first of a number of stories that we will be sharing with you over the next three months as we roll out our Ready, Willing and Able appeal. We've launched this appeal because we know that disabled people in the developing world are ready for change. Not only are they willing to play a full and active part in society, but with the right support and training they are able to take control and drive the change they want to see in their lives.

Everyone deserves a fair chance to realise their potential, regardless of their disability. So, are you ready, willing and able to help us break the cycle of poverty and discrimination? If so, donate to our appeal and let’s give disabled people like Francis a fair chance to work their way out of poverty.

And if you donate before the 3rd March the UK government will double it - meaning that your donation can go twice as far!