Mzugulira Village, Salima, Malawi … Jotamu Peter is 15 years old, but already knows what he wants to do when he gets out of school. He wants to be a schoolteacher. When Griven Kasalika met this young man, he was able to encourage him, even though he knew Jotamu was facing an uphill battle because of his lack of mobility. Griven can relate to Jotamu because he also has had to overcome obstacles that would stop many. Griven grew up an orphan, yet he went to school, then to college, and graduated successfully. He assured Jotamu that nothing could stop him if he was determined and worked extra hard.
The Malawi Medical Council works closely with Action for Progress, (AfP). AfP is the sister organization in Malawi that the Malawi Project works with to identify qualified recipients for hand-propelled mobility units. They chose Jotamu whose condition had been with him since he suffered malaria as a young boy. He lives close to the school which enabled him to reach standard 6, (the equivalent of 7th grade in the United States school system). However, this did not take away all of his mobility challenges, as he even needs assistance to use the bathroom. Wilson Tembo, a longtime friend of the Malawi Project and the Executive Director of AfP and Griven presented the mobility unit to Jotamu. He quickly climbed into the seat by himself and shortly thereafter experienced personal mobility for the first time.
This mobility story gets even better with the introduction of Peteri Adam, Jotamu’s uncle who is a fisherman on Lake Malawi. Peteri has been unable to work full time because of the care that Jotamu has needed. Now, Jotamu can independently pedal himself to school, which allows Peteri to go back to work. Their household immediately experienced a more solid economic foundation along with the blessing of independence for Jotamu. Jotamu’s dream of becoming a teacher is alive again.
Griven and Wilson climbed back into the Action for Progress vehicle and made their way back to Lilongwe. They will soon be ready to make the next trip to help another person fulfill their dreams. Mobility Ministries, in Demotte, Indiana, is the location where these mobility units are built. 75 volunteers are hard at work throughout the year knowing that they are helping hundreds of Malawians regain mobility, self-esteem, independence and hope for a better future.