Kanyandule Primary School, Lilongwe, Malawi … One thousand meters, or more than half a mile is the distance 18-year-old Tione Mphadwe crawls to get to and from school. For most people in first-world nations, this is hard to comprehend. No one crawls on the ground for a half-mile to get to school. In most cases, they are picked up by a specially outfitted bus for a much easier and shorter ride to school. However, for a boy in Malawi with paraplegia (a paralysis often caused by an injury to the brain or spinal cord) there are few, if any, resources to assist his movement, especially not a bus and driver. There are no mechanized means of transportation, not even a bicycle or oxcart that can carry him to school. He is too large for either his grandmother or sister, with whom he lives, to carry him on their back through sand, dirt, rocks, and often mud, to reach the Kanyandule Primarily School. If he wants an education, he must crawl all the way. Tione is determined so early every morning and late into the day he exhaustingly follows the familiar route from home to school and back.
Through a joint effort by Mobility Ministries, the Malawi Project, and Action for Progress, Tione can now move about, not only to school but to the houses of his friends, to the soccer field, the nearby trading center, to church and out into the world around him. More than that, Tione can become a productive citizen in his community, and he can do it all with the dignity he deserves.