"I did not think I could do it but I have proved that I could."

There are around 1.2 million people in Kenya with mobility disabilities.

Many of them are currently using poorly-fitted wheelchairs or have no mobility devices at all, so are vulnerable to life-threatening health complications like pressure sores or bladder infections. As a result, the average survival rate for someone with a spinal cord injury is just 18 months.

Without a suitable wheelchair, disabled people often remain trapped in their homes and unable to socialise with their communities. Stigma and discrimination remain rife, so many of these people are unable to access healthcare, education and employment. Without any knowledge of their rights, disabled people become more and more isolated. Although they want to be included in society, it can seem an overwhelming challenge without access to suitable wheelchairs and professional services.

The right wheelchair…

In Kenya, Motivation works with partner organisations to provide quality wheelchair services to disabled people.

By delivering our services according to World Health Organization’s guidelines – something we helped to develop –  we can ensure that wheelchair users are receiving the right wheelchair in the right way.

This enables them be healthy, mobile and active. It enables them to regain independence. It gives them the opportunity to go to school or find a job, have a family, socialise with their friends and be included in the community – often for the first time.

… in the right way

So far, our work in Kenya has seen 1,000 disabled people receive life-changing wheelchairs. We have also trained 400 community-based workers to identify people who need wheelchairs and refer them to our services. 

Meet Mercy

When Mercy first lost the use of her legs, she found it difficult to accept she needed a wheelchair. She refused to use one and stayed in bed for six months, relying on her family to take care of her.

 “My life was a mess,” she told us. “Some of my friends were supportive, but others I did not see anymore. At the time, I had a boyfriend. He stood with me for some time but I did not want to be a burden.”

Eventually, Mercy was given a wheelchair without an assessment. It did not fit properly and had no cushion, causing a dangerous pressure sore on her hip. What’s more, she was struggling to control her bladder and quickly lost all her confidence.

But two years later, a family member contacted Motivation for her and soon after that, she received her first Motivation wheelchair.  It was strong, comfortable and fitted her perfectly. Her self-esteem began to grow.

Once she was more independent and able to look after herself, Mercy began powerlifting and had the confidence to join the national Paralympic team.

“I started powerlifting to lose weight. I had started to gain weight and I did not want to get bigger," she explained “I did not think I could do it but I have proved that I could. Now, I want to excel.”

Find out more

If you have further questions about our work in Kenya or would like to receive extra information, please get in touch on 0117 966 0398 or [email protected].

Support Motivation

You can empower disabled people like Mercy in Kenya and throughout our other focus countries by making a donation today.

Read Mercy's full story here.

 Photo © Matt Grayson