Senior Chief Chilowa Matambe’s Headquarters, Malawi … The vehicles moving quickly through the Malawi countryside brought the attention of passerby’s as they hastily made their way to their pre-arranged destination. Many could only wonder where they were going in such a hurry. Yet one could almost surmise their purpose since the front vehicle was loaded with highly visible mobility units. Behind the front vehicle came the Minister of Health for Malawi, Mrs. Khumbize Kadondo Chiponda. Then came the Action for Progress team in the third vehicle.
As the vehicles neared their first destination several women and children ran along behind the vehicles, as it was evident something important was about to happen. Pulling to a stop the group was greeted by the Senior Chief and his council with a warm greeting.
A crowd had now gathered and among them was 16-year-old Joyce Kalilani, a physically challenged girl, reported as the victim of suspected polio. As everyone grew silent her father outlined the challenges the family was facing with their daughter. One of the main problems, he noted, was the fact the school was a long distance away and Joyce had to drop out because there was no way the family could get her to her classes. Joyce seemed not to know she would receive such a gift and was curious about everything taking place around her. When it was announced she would receive one of the new units everyone clapped their hands in joy and appreciation.
The Minister of Health thanked Action for Progress for their support. She said the government was committed to helping those with disabilities and they recognized AfP as a strategic partner in this area. She noted, “Without Action for Progress Joyce would still be crawling, but today she is smiling because of your gracious deeds.”
On behalf of AfP Wilson Tembo the executive director expressed appreciation for the good working relationship with the government and their support for those with disabilities. Joyce’s father added, “With this mobility unit Joyce will soon be enrolled in classes again.” As he finished Joyce was given the opportunity to peddle the unit to assure her ability to use it successfully. Joyce smiled knowing she will go back to school. A new chapter in her life has begun with the opening of this door.
Action for Progress is a Malawi not-for-profit organization created to assist in the distribution, oversight, and encouragement of programs supported by the Malawi Project.