Meet Dawda – The Lorry Driver

Oliver KennettCase Studies, Inspiring Stories, Video

After a lorry accident last year, Dawda had to have his leg amputated, taking with it his livelihood and much of his self-esteem. Dawda’s employer, a transport company, has taken no responsibility for the accident despite the fact that it was a failure in the air brakes of their truck which he was driving. As a consequence, Dawda has received no compensation and, despite receiving a prosthetic leg from Legs4Africa and regaining his mobility and his ability to drive, still no one will employ him.

He explains that, as an amputee, he feels rejected and overlooked “I see friends run away from me, family run away from me.”There is a great stigma in many African cultures regarding disability. People are seen as ineffective, a burden and, much of the time, as Dawda explains, disabled people are forgotten.

“In Africa we believe that if you have such a problem they forget you.”

Though this is not Dawda’s view of his own capabilities. “I tell them, just have faith.”Aside from having to learn how to use a prosthetic leg, many African amputees face this uphill struggle of proving that they are not a burden and that they are able to work just as well as their able bodied colleagues.

It is a slow process, changing the minds of people who, for so long have seen disability in such harsh terms. It is people like Dawda and the hundreds of other Gambian amputees who will make the change by proving that, with a little courage and a lot of hard work, amputees can contribute just as much to the world as anybody else.

“I have the confidence I can do it,” Dawda says with a smile, “and I’m doing it. You know Gambia, it’s the smiling coast of Africa

“In Africa we believe that if you have such a problem they forget you.”