News and stories Stories Joel, Tanzania "This training has completely changed my negative perception. I understand my rights [and] in spite of my disability I have a goal to accomplish in my life." Joel lives in the Arusha region of Tanzania with his parents. He used to work in a local hotel and was the main breadwinner for his family, but one day Joel woke up and found that he couldn’t walk, control his bladder or feel sensations below his spine. His life was turned upside down in an instance. He found himself trapped at home, he lost friendships and as a young man his social life disappeared. He was left dependent on his brother for his mobility: I was hiding and felt like the community was not supporting me. After the training I realised that I was not supporting the community [either]. I thought my life will be in someone else’s hands for the rest of my life as I was depending on my brother for everything. My brother carried me from my bed to my wheelchair and from my wheelchair to the car all the time. I remember one day I wanted to sit in my wheelchair and my brother was not there to carry me, I felt very bad. I thought he had run away from me. But I now understand that, I have my life and my brother has his own life. Joel did receive a wheelchair when he fell ill, but it was too small for him, which meant he couldn't sit properly in it and risked his health. With just four small wheels it was also not suitable for the environment that he lived in and he was unable to propel himself around his home - which often got very muddy during the rainy season. After receiving a Motivation Rough Terrain wheelchair, Joel instantly felt much more confident and independent. He was no longer afraid of falling from his chair because it was fitted specifically for him - and because it had a long chassis and three wheels he was able to get around far more easily and was no longer reliant on his brother or others to carry or push him. In addition, Joel attended one of our Peer Training courses, run by experienced wheelchair users who act as mentors to others going through similar experiences. This taught him to better understand his condition and how to manage his bladder and bowel. At the same time he learnt his rights as a disabled person and gained the confidence to rethink his options as a young man with his life ahead of him. I feel new in my new wheelchair and I am ready to share what I have learnt with other people with disabilities. Joel has big plans for the future. He wants to go back to university and pursue his dream of becoming a teacher. Not only that, he wants to help others in a similar situation to regain their independence by sharing his learning: With this wheelchair I will be able to go the village to identify other people with disabilities and change their lives just like the way Motivation has changed my life. support us today to help equip more people like Joel with the skills, knowledge and confidence to live independently.