Community embraces toilets for the disabled
By Lilian Kaivilu
“You cannot ride on your disability to beg for help from people. You have to rise up to the challenge, work hard and people will see the need to complement your efforts.” These are the words of Evans Malachi Wandera, a cobbler and farmer in Busia county.
In his wheelchair, Wandera operates freely within his compound. His last born daughter , a twin, pushes his wheelchair around. He received the chair from the Association of People Living with Disability in Kenya (APDK) in Busia 10 years ago.
Going to the toilet was previously a challenge to him. But Wandera recently acquired a tailor-made toilet from Amref Health Africa through the Financial Inclusion Improves Sanitation and Health (Finish Ink) project in Busia.
The modern toilet is made of interlocking bricks, a flat wheelchair ramp and a comfortable toilet seat for both Wandera and his wife who are living with disabilities. “This is what I needed for a long time. I am now happy that I can access the toilet without much assistance,” Wandera says. Previously, he used a single door pit latrine.
The 53-year-old father of five has defied odds despite the fact that he is living with a disability on his legs. Wandera was born a normal child in 1964 in Nanginingini village, Mamboboto location, Samia Sub County in Busia County. “I was very active as a young boy but I suffered polio at the age of three. This is how I got paralysed,” narrates a jovial Wandera.
To him, disability is not a death sentence and he is determined to transform his life and those of his family. His wife is also living with disabilities, She is a tailor in the Nanginngini. Wandera is a cobbler, a business that enables him pay his bills. “So far, I have been able to pay school fees for my three children in school,” he says.
Most of his customers are students from a nearby secondary school. Wandera believes that a boost to his business will change his life for better.
The trained cobbler, who is also a farmer, says the wheelchair has helped him move around his compound with ease.
Christine Akongo Otieno, a community Health Worker in the area says this modern toilet for the people living with disabilities is a welcome innovation. “This has made life easier for them,” says Otieno. As a CHV, Otieno handles 84 households.