Last Stop: Maasai Mara
The last two mobility distributions took place in the community of Maasai Mara which is also home to the renowned Massai Mara National Reserve. The ambassadors distributed devices at clinics with the help and assistance of local doctors who were able to identify the needs of each individual. The need for mobility devices is great in Kenya, and more devices are needed to help aid physical disabilities. Below left, a local doctor speaks with Mara residents. Below right, Ambassador Jaiden presents paperwork to doctors listing the $2,000 worth of medical supplies and mobility devices from Project C.U.R.E.
Ubuntu means "I am, we are." Ambassadors stopped at two sites in Ubuntu to visit with mothers and their special needs children. When the ambassadors arrived, the children were waiting outside a school where they received new t-shirts, dresses or toys. Mobility devices were also disbrituted! In Kenya, there remains a stigma around families of children with special needs. So much so, that some children are hidden away for years. Jeremiah Kuria, a Rotarian in the Rotary Club of Naivasha, and his friend Zane Wilemon from Texas, began a school for special needs children. They provide therapy, medication and education resulting in some children re-joining mainstreem schools! Ubuntu also provides job training to mothers and fathers who learn artisan work, restaurant, and hotel skills, to name a few. To learn more, visit www.ubuntu.life. Special thanks to Lauren Lukas, special events coordinator at AFW who is providing this information and content all the way from Kenya!
Visit to Naivasha Girls School
About 1,100 girls from around Kenya attend this incredible public boarding school. Potential students must pass national exams in order to attend. The age range of female students is 14-18, and they are being educated and groomed as Kenya's future leaders! Ambassadors toured the school, attended classes, and planted trees in their botanical garden. Students have already planted 200 trees in order to give back to the environment.
Distributions - July 4th - 7th
The Ambassadors delivered mobility devices both in homes as well as at the Naivasha YMCA. The Ambassadors walked to the home of Thomas (below left) who was in an accident 17 years ago. He lives with his sister, and was going to spend 30,000 shillings ($300 US Dollars) on a wheelchair. Instead, Ambassadors brought him a wheelchair! This device will be lifechanging for Thomas. Ambassadors Kara and Sandra (below right) help adjust a walker for a local Kenyan woman. During the first day of distributions, more people came than expected and there were not enough wheelchairs. Names were taken so they could be delivered to them as they become available. The need in Kenya is great - and all of the ambassadors are more determined than ever to get another container shipped! Ambassadors pose with Kenyans in Ubuntu (below centered) who received mobility devices.
The Mission: collect, ship, and distribute mobility devices
Crutches 4 Africa founder David Talbot.
Crutches 4 Africa was founded by professional photographer David Talbot. He survived the initial onslaught of polio and overcame his prognosis by living an active and athletic life until he developed post-polio syndrome in his mid-50s. Due to the debilitating effects of post-polio syndrome, Talbot has spent the last 9 years on crutches. While working as a photographer and producing a documentary film in Uganda, Talbot saw the crippling consequences among the people there who had survived the polio virus but were left immobile. Back in the United States, he realized the untapped resource of lightly-used mobility devices he saw at garage sales and in dumpsters, including crutches, walkers and canes. His realization was the genesis of Crutches 4 Africa.
To date, more than 120,000 mobility devices have been distributed to Africans in need. Scroll down to read about AFW's involvement with this organization and to watch a video on this inspirational program!
This will be our third year with Interact Ambassadors who will travel to Kenya to deliver mobility devices (walkers, canes, crutches and rollators) and complete service projects.
American Furniture Warehouse is proud to be their corporate sponsor helping to bring hope and impact to so many lives! Our warehouses in Glendale and Gilbert AZ stored 1,455 mobility devices that were collected all year by Rotary and Interact Clubs in District #5495 throughout Arizona.
Lauren Lukas, special events coordinator for AFW wrote:
"I wondered if our team could really fully comprehend the lives that will be touched and changed forever through their incredible effort. What a wonderful company we work for that not only changes lives in the communities in which we serve, but around the world through their generous support of so many non-profit organizations."
We hope to update this blog weekly during the ambassadors' trip July 1-17. Please check back often for updates on this incredible journey of bringing hope to others in need.