With a new Motivation wheelchair and the support of her peer trainers, Salome feels like she has a purpose again.

When Salome was just ten years old, both of her parents passed away. She and her two young siblings went to live with her grandmother in a slum, where she remembers working hard from a young age just to put food on the table.

Sadly, there was nothing uncommon about Salome's situation; thousands of children in Kenya are living the same way. But when she was fifteen, Salome fell and injured her back, and life became even more of a struggle.

Living one day at a time...

Salome's spinal cord injury left her unable to walk. With so little money to care for her, her grandmother had no choice but to move her into a children's home where she faced an uncertain future. Her friends stopped visiting her shortly after the move. Before long, she realised it wasn't just her friends - everyone was treating her differently now she was disabled. People even started to imply her disability was a punishment for something she had done in her past, or caused because her grandmother was a witch.

After three years at the children's home, the wheelchair Salome had been using became unsuitable. Provided by the hospital, it had never fitted her well. But by the age of eighteen, it was simply not big enough for her and became unsafe to use. Without a cushion, Salome became susceptible to dangerous pressure sores that, left untreated, could have proved fatal. She told us that the wheelchair made her feel more disabled that she actually was.

Unable to keep herself healthy or move around alone and worried for her future, Salome began to feel worthless and depressed. But she was quietly determined and knew that, with the right support, she could achieve something.

I feel like I have purpose now.

When Salome met staff from Motivation, she received a brand new wheelchair that was expertly fitted for her, and designed to suit her environment. She also attended one of our peer training sessions, that helped her to regain confidence and realise she was not alone.

For Salome, the change was instant. Delivered by other wheelchair users, the peer training taught her to look after her health and prevent pressure sores. It provided her with extra mobility skills so she felt safer using her wheelchair. And she learnt about disability rights so she was able to defend herself and challenge negative attitudes from others.

She also realised that she is able to take back control of her life, have a family and build a good career.

"Before, I thought 'who would want to have a child with me?!'," she explained. "But I met people who had children [at peer training] and realised it was possible. I saw the reality of people with disabilities looking after children."

Following Motivation's training, Salome had the inspiration and confidence she needed to go and seek work. And today, she is studying for her masters whilst working as a financial analyst.

Support Motivation

Salome's story is a positive one. Sadly, not all disabled people are so fortunate. And for many living in countries like Kenya, the stigma and discrimination is so great that leaving the house is a major challenge - let alone finding work.

Without a job, disabled people are unable to pay for healthcare, support their families or contribute to society. And this only serves to reinforce negative attitudes in the community. Stuck in a never-ending cycle, around 80% of disabled people in the developing world live in poverty.

You can help by supporting Motivation today. Your donation could fund wheelchairs that enable disabled people to regain their independence. It could pay for training sessions that teach disabled people their rights so they can challenge negative attitudes and find employment.

Make a donation today.