"Now we move very, very nicely! I put her in the wheelchair, get her younger brother and we move!" Gevinah, Uganda

Gevinah’s knows from experience that a badly-fitted wheelchair can do her daughter more harm than good...

11-year-old Masika has cerebral palsy and epilepsy. In Uganda, where she lives with her mother Gevinah, children like Masika face an uncertain future. Discrimination against disabled people is widespread and many believe it’s caused by witchcraft or a curse, others just see disabled children as a ‘burden’.

Sadly, Masika’s father felt the same, and prevented her from getting medical attention, saying instead that his daughter should be ‘left to die’. Fortunately, Gevinah found the courage to leave her husband and moved to a new village where she could take care of Masika and her brother.

We first met the family when Gevinah joined one of Motivation’s support groups for the parents of disabled children. While the group was in walking distance of their home, getting there proved incredibly dangerous. Masika had an old, heavy, adult-sized wheelchair and every few metres Gevinah had to stop and reposition her daughter to prevent her from sliding out of the seat and onto the road. The journey took the pair two hours.

But the wheelchair wasn’t just uncomfortable for Masika, it was also extremely bad for her health. The poor fit caused pressure ulcers on her skin - sores that can be life threatening if left untreated.

When Gevinah arrived at the support group with Masika she was instantly referred to a local wheelchair service. People at this service had been trained by Motivation to measure Masika and provide her with a wheelchair that fitted her properly and met her complex needs. Her new wheelchair is designed for rough terrain and is much easier to push on the uneven ground. It now takes just half an hour to get to the support group, and Gevinah no longer has to worry about her daughter falling out onto the road.

Gevinah was laughing when she told us what a difference Masika’s new wheelchair has made:

Now we move very, very nicely! I put her in the wheelchair, get her younger brother and we move!

And it’s not just Masika that has benefited from the Motivation wheelchair. Because Masika is more comfortable, she is much more content. This means Gevinah can get on with her weaving, something that has the potential to provide income for her family.

They now look forward to a brighter future. Masika is happier and it gives Gevinah a lot of joy to see the local children excited to play with her daughter:

I hear them say they are going play at Masika’s house – they used to come for a minute and then go. Masika would cry. Now the children come, take her with them to play and bring her back when they are all tired!