Many people with special needs in Malawi go without adaptive equipment that would make their lives easier because they do not have access or means to acquire such things. The Champion’s Club and Champs Mobile ministries strive to provide assistance to children with special needs in four areas: education, spiritual, social/mental, and physical. Some of the children in these programs would benefit from wheelchairs or other equipment.
The parents of children with special needs have very little in the way of being able to provide for themselves let alone being able to handle the extra costs needed to provide for a child who is physically disabled. Due to this, we meet many children who spend their whole lives laying on the ground. Because they do not have wheelchairs or adaptive seating, they end up with many secondary issues by the time we reach them. In the past, we have depended on equipment that arrives in the containers, but most of these devices are designed for adult use. Fortunately, we have found a resource here in Malawi that can design and build custom-made wheelchairs for children with special needs.
Shilla Mitembo (pictured above) is an 11-year-old girl who has recently benefited from receiving a customized wheelchair built here in Malawi. Shilla has cerebral palsy and her muscles are overly active causing her legs to cross and her back to arch almost constantly. The wheelchair was designed to help keep her legs separated and her upper body to be secure in the chair. Not only this, but the wheels on these chairs are great for life in the village where the wheelchair will be constantly pushed through dirt, sand, and mud. This wheelchair allows Shilla to go to school and gives her mom the freedom to take Shilla with her when she goes out of the house.
Many other children in our program are not fortunate enough to have a wheelchair and their life is suffering from this lack of freedom. Parents are forced to leave their child at home alone so that they can work on their farm or find food for the day. Wheelchairs provide opportunities for these children and their families that they currently do not have.
Other children in our program do not need a wheelchair, rather they need other adaptive equipment that will greatly increase the success of their physical therapy at home, such as equipment that can be built by a carpenter at very low cost. Some types of equipment that are needed are parallel bars that will allow a child to practice walking with support and strengthen their legs. Standing tables or standing frames that allow a child to spend time in an upright position, either on their knees or on their feet while doing activities, these standers help those who are sitting but not yet able to stand on their own. Walkers are another great piece of equipment that allows a child to practice walking while giving them support.
Adaptive equipment is a necessary benefit for someone with special needs. If we could provide all the children in our programs with the equipment necessary for their physical needs, we would see a change in their quality of life. I would like to see all the children in our Champion’s program with the necessary aid equipment so that they can enjoy more of life.
Champs Mobile Coordinator
How can I help?
Help us purchase 5 new walkers for our Champs at $30 each
Use ' Champs walkers' as your designation.
Help us purchase 7 custom wheelchairs for our Champs at $200 each
Use 'Champs Wheelchairs' as your designation