Where we work
Just Wheels Tanzania
Just Wheels UK helped to set up Just Wheels Tanzania which became a registered charity in Tanzania in 2019. The purpose of Just Wheels Tanzania is the same as Just Wheels UK: reduce poverty and hardship for people with mobility issues. The organisation has a board consisting of 10 members who meet several times a year. They organise the activities of Just Wheels on the ground. We have a Manager: Francis Itoma and 2 wheelchair technicians: Edwin and Edgar Kalukwella. We also have a number of volunteers. We hope to expand our staff team soon.
We are currently developing and building the Tabora Just Wheels Mobility Centre which will be a purpose built centre with wheelchair workshops, physiotherapy rooms, training rooms, a cafe, dormitories and relaxation space. We hope this will be complete by 2024.
Just Wheels is a registered charity in Tanzania and its first project is in Tabora.
The Tabora Region covers a large area and has a population of around 2,291,000. Approximately 10% of people in Tanzania are disabled and around 3% have difficulties getting around. It is a rural area and poverty levels are high with subsistence agriculture forming the mainstay of many people’s livelihoods.
Although Tabora is a significant size, infrastructure is poor meaning travel is very difficult, particularly for disabled people. There are very basic health care services and no services for disabled people. Unless you can afford to buy a wheelchair or tricycle and travel many miles to get it – which many disabled people can’t – you are left to your own devices. There are also virtually no physiotherapy services in Tabora.
Through long-term links, we were aware of the needs of local disabled people. A local physiotherapist and wheelchair technician have highlighted this further and report that there’s no local workshop or supply of equipment and there are no physiotherapy services. Just Wheels made a visit to Tabora in 2017 to confirm the desperate needs for disabled people in Tabora.
Mark has cerebral palsy and has a significant tremor. He can walk if he is holding on to someone or something but he has no wheelchair or crutch. His home is about 4kms from the centre of Tabora making it practically impossible to get there. He sells crisps to make a living. He is totally dependent on his family to support him.
Husana is unable to walk due to problems with her hips and legs. She has hydracephela and has a large head. She is 10 years old (although she did not know how old she is) and has never been to school. She relies on her grandmother to carry her around. A tricycle would enable her to get to school.
Maliziaday had polio as a young adult. She has never had a wheelchair or tricycle and walks on her hands. She cannot read or write as she never went to school. She was married but her husband left her. She is entirely dependent on her family. She would like to be a tailor.
Jafariself had polio as a child and cannot walk. He also has a urinary problem. His family took him to the hospital but could not afford further investigation and medical bills. He is carried around by his mother when she is not working. He goes to school occasionally. He would like to go to school every day.
Our work in Tabora
Francis Emmanuel, Project Manager for Just Wheels is working with all of these people to provide a wheelchair or tricycle and physiotherapy services and he is developing plans for a Physiotherapy and Wheelchair/ Tricycle service in Tabora.
This would involve setting up a workshop and clinic near to the hospital, where disabled people could be assessed and supported and where wheelchairs would be made and then supplied, free of charge, to people with physical disabilities. We aim to fund the supply of around 50 wheelchairs or tricycles over the next 2 years – a small start in tackling a much larger challenge.
This is our focus project until 2020 and requires us to raise around £50,000. Fundraising is well underway for the project. All the individuals highlighted in our stories above will receive a wheelchair or tricycle.