The key person of any charity isn’t the people who work hard to make a difference, it’s not even the donors and supporters, it’s the people whom that charity supports and gives hope to. This is why, last year, the Legs4Africa team went out to meet just a few of the incredible people that are taking the opportunity that Legs4Africa is offering, and using these reclaimed abilities to do great things.
Early in 2016, one of our volunteers, along with the local amputee community, set up the Gambian Amputee Association; A place for like minded people to discuss their worries, their hopes and their ideas. The intention was for Gambian amputees to develop a voice, to unify their efforts in changing preconceptions about people with disabilities and to provide support and encouragement to one another.
Musa Kaudeh is the president of the Gambian Amputee Association (G.A.A) and we were lucky enough to grab a few minutes with him to find out his views on the current issues for amputees in the Gambia.
We begin by asking him about his work as the chairman of the first association for amputees in the Gambia.
The aims and objectives of the association is to bring amputees together so that we will learn from each other’s problems. Musa goes on to explain how much the G.A.A has helped him and is still helping him, to give him confidence and how it feels like a family, though, he confides that the sort of actual family support that amputees receive is starting to die out around the Gambia. Musa is fortunate, he has a wife and family that support him though, from his description, this is an exception to the rule.
Most amputees you ask, where is your wife, and they say, she has gone. He says that many wives do not stay by their husbands sides because they have a complex about being married to an amputee.
This, of course, is very disheartening and just one more example of how such outdated stigma can impact on the life of a person with physical disabilities. Going into the future, the work of the Gambian Amputee Association, along with what support that Legs4Africa can give, may change minds for amputees, giving them confidence and showing them that life goes on, and to prove to the wider community that physical disability, with the right support and resources, is no longer the difficulty that it once was. With support in place from groups such as the G.A.A and a continuing supply of mobility equipment from the UK to Africa, we can change minds, show that people with disabilities are equals, and, in some cases, give such people the opportunity to excel and live, not just a normal life, but an extraordinary one.