Action for Progress donates wheelchairs for Senior Chief Mlolo’s physically challenged subjects

Senior Chief Mlolo in Nsanje District received a donation of five wheelchairs from Action for Progress which she has since distributed to her underprivileged physically challenged subjects in East Bank.

The mobility units bing off loaded
A huge smile of relief from a beneficiary
Now he can go to school regularly

The Senior Chief says she has over 50 people who are physically challenged and she appeals to other well-wishers to help the remaining 40-plus people.

Mlolo thanked Action for Progress — a local organization which is a subsidiary of International Malawi Project based in the United States of America — for the timely support rendered to her people.

“The gift and blessing of mobility is truly life changing and life empowering to my people,” she said. “This donation has given back independence and security to my people.”

“With no doubt the lives of the receipts will forever be transformed,” said the Senior Chief, who also takes care of several people with albinism in her area.

One of the beneficiaries is 94-year-old Frame Lepani, from Nalisoni Village, who lives alone after he lost his wife in 2016 and has taken care of himself for over a decade.

Lepani has been unable to move around due to his age and the challenge of disability he developed in his old age and he thanked his traditional leader, saying this mobility unit will help him socially and economically.

“Thank you Action for Progress for the gift of the wheelchair,” he said. “I can now afford to go and monitor my rice garden; I will be able to go around to different places such as the market; attending church services regularly and I will now even be able to attend funerals in my area.”

After he lost his wife in 2016, his major challenge was mobility that has now been addressed and he appealed to organisations such as Action for Progress, alongside his traditional leader Mlolo, to continue supporting other people in need like him.

Another beneficiary was 10-year-old girl, Tamandani Dovu, currently in Standard 3 in Milira Village, who beamed with joy that now she can afford to go to school regularly.

Tamandani, who stays with her single parent since her father died, was being carried to school on her mother’s back. The mother was struggling to do her routine household chores because at times she had to linger around the school to help her child attend to toilet needs.

“I had two main challenges as a student — first it was very difficult to sit on the desk and learn because our desks are not designed to accommodate people who are physically challenged like me.

“But now my teachers will allow me to enter with my wheelchair in class to attain education,” Tamandani said, adding that she had seen a dark future but now with this gift she now can see a brighter life ahead of her.

Senior Chief Mlolo reiterated the need for more of such mobility units, saying, “Nsanje District is one of the hottest places in Malawi and physically challenged people in my area often face barriers in accessing economic and social services such as healthcare, education and access to the marketplace to sell their produce”.

“During summer, it is almost impossible for such people to crawl from one place to the other because the ground gets too hot. Due to this problem, poverty levels and school dropouts for such people in my area very high.

“I, therefore kindly request many people to come forward and help my area just like what Action for Progress has done to help me continue taking care of these people in some other areas,” said Mlolo, who plays the role of mother figure for 17 young people living with albinism in her area.

In liaison with Association of People with Albinism in Malawi (APAM) and other well-wishers, she provides them basic necessities such as hats and sunscreen lotion for their sunlight reactive skins as well as encouraging them to concentrate on their education pursuits.

Mlolo — Ellena Rachael Chakuamba Chimbamba — together with Muona Community Rice Scheme, are helping keeping alive the legacy of an agricultural project founded by former Member of Parliament for Nsanje North, late Gwanda Chakuamba.

She is grandniece to late Chakumba, who initiated the rice scheme when he was then Minister of Agriculture way back in Malawi Congress Party  era under former President, late Kamuzu Banda.

The community manages the scheme through Water Users Association (WUA) committee and its Board of Trustees with the help of Ministry of Agriculture’s experts.

The Scheme has over 446 hectares and if well managed can produce about 3,000 metric tonnes of rice, which Mlolo says produces high quality rice that can attract foreign markets.

“The community benefits a lot from the scheme as the proceeds from it provide school fees for their children; are able to build houses and some have managed to buy livestock as well maize when the maize fields have not done well,” she said of the scheme which has 5,000 farmers of which 3,500 are men and 2,000 are women.

Chakuamba died on 24 October, 2016 and was laid to rest at his magnificent mansion that has now been turned into a tourist hospitality home — the Chinyanje Lodge.

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