1,500 Wheelchairs Needed In Daura Emirate

A favorite story of Dr. Ron Rice, Founder of WFN

          When Ayuba, my wife Sharon and I arrived at the Local Government headquarters in Daura, Katsina State, in the far north of Nigeria, we saw about 80 disabled children and adults sitting in the shade under a large mango tree, out of the hot sun. We had driven 9 hours from the city of Jos, where our wheelchair shop is located. Daura is the hometown of Muhammadu Buhari, President of Nigeria. We had never given out wheelchairs here before.

          “Good,” I thought, “we’ll have enough wheelchairs for everyone.” This rarely happens, because at almost every wheelchair distribution, far more disabled folks show up, whose names were not on the list. Our truck had brought 80 wheelchairs the day before. Because the tricycles are so big and bulky, they take the wheels and bicycle chains off to load them on the truck. Then two of our staff come with the truck to reassemble them.

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          Alas, it was not to be. Ayuba had written to the Emir (King) of this large Emirate to set up this distribution. Because there are four Local Governments (like a small county in the US), the Emir had divided the 80 wheelchairs among the four, meaning there were only 25 allocated for these 80 hopefuls. It broke my heart that 55 of these polio survivors had to go home empty handed.

          Then we learned from the president of the network of disabled folks in that large Daura Emirate that there were 1500 polio survivors crawling on the ground who needed wheelchairs. This illustrated for us once again, that even though we have given out over 26,000 wheelchairs, we are just scratching the surface of the need.

          Pictured above are some of the 80 disabled, hoping to get a wheelchair.