Ana Onse Mpata Umodzi (AOMU), newly founded by a Malawian woman Thandiwe Chirwa-Revill based in the United Kingdom, handed over wheelchairs to three children with physical disabilities at Mponela 2 Primary School in Dowa District.
Mponela 2 Primary School has 26 children with various disabilities including those with hearing and visual impairment and other special needs.
The three children who received the wheelchairs, were reportedly having mobility challenges that made it difficult for them to attend school.
And quite often, parents carried the three to school and a volunteer special educational needs and disabilities teacher also carried them across the road to access the toilet.
In fact, two of the children–girls–reportedly missed school for a whole academic term due to mobility challenges.
Speaking when handing over the wheelchairs, AOMU Board Chairperson, Mtisunge Mipando, said the organization believes that each child should be given equal opportunity regardless of whether they have special needs or not.
“We want to make sure that all kids are given equal access to education so that their future is determined by them and not their circumstances. The wheelchairs will help the three beneficiaries to attend classes on regular basis as any other child,” said Mipando.
He added that AOMU, with the few resources it is able to generate, will mainly focus on helping to facilitate the learning process of kids with special needs by, among other things, ensuring availability of special needs teachers and equipment for special needs children.
Mipando also said AOMU has contributed about MK500,000 to enable Mponela 2 Primary School build a new resource room for children with disabilities because the 3×3 metre room they are using now is too small and was initially a storage room.
Taking his turn, Chief Education Officer for Inclusive Education in the Ministry of Education, Peter Sendema, commended AOMU for the gesture, saying government alone cannot manage to alleviate the many challenges learners with disabilities face.
And a parent for one of the children, Efida Chinyanga, expressed her happiness over the wheelchair, saying she is now relieved of the burden of carrying her child to school.
Thandiwe Chirwa-Revill, working in schools and mainly with children with special educational needs and disabilities in UK, founded AOMU after looking at the high prevalence rate of children with various learning difficulties and disabilities in Malawi.
She was also inspired by the amount of support such children receive within school in UK in order to maximise their future prospects.
Chirwa-Revill and her friends in UK have since committed to walking a distance equivalent to that between Lilongwe and Blantyre in order to raise more funds to finance activities of her organization back home.
They have so far already raised about MK800,000 through other fundraising ventures.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :