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PUTTING WHEELS IN MOTION

Heart-wrenching article inspires Daily Maverick readers to pledge wheelchairs in Eastern Cape

Heart-wrenching article inspires Daily Maverick readers to pledge wheelchairs in Eastern Cape
Daily Maverick is hoping to deliver a wheelchair to gogo Nomalwandle Gosa from Rasmeni Village in Ngcobo in the Eastern Cape soon. (Photo: Siyabonga Kamnqa)

The donation of wheelchairs to vulnerable members of society shows how the power of stories has inspired citizens to rally together and make a difference.

On 18 April Daily Maverick published the story “It’s not nice being me” — a heartbreaking snapshot of the struggle for those, often the elderly and children, who rely on public health services in the Eastern Cape to access wheelchairs.

Read more in Daily Maverick: ‘It is not nice being me’ — more than 5,000 people in Eastern Cape wait for wheelchairs

The Eastern Cape’s waiting list is a hundred times longer than any other province in South Africa. The Eastern Cape Department of Health blames Covid-19 and medicolegal claims, as always.

The same struggle is repeated when people need crutches and walkers.

The stories then kept coming. A 10-year-old girl is being pushed to school in a wheelbarrow. A boy with amputated legs has not been out of the house in months.

Yet the heartbreak of these stories was turned to hope, as we were inundated with people wanting to help, even in these tough economic times.

Dr Imtiaz Sooliman called to say he has 800 wheelchairs and will soon be ready to distribute them. Marilyn Basson from Boikanyo The Dion Herson Foundation called to get names and numbers to help the children.

A member of Rotary phoned to pledge 50. Many other readers emailed to ask how they can help.

We are helping where we can to link donors and recipients, and we will soon publish a celebratory story on those who have regained their mobility and their dignity. Because, in these dark times, the power of our stories still underscores that as a people, we are so much more than our government. DM168

This story first appeared in our weekly DM168 newspaper which is available countrywide for R29.

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  • Caroline de Braganza says:

    I remember crying when I read of these peoples’ plight and only wished I had the resources to provide wheelchairs. However, it’s heartwarming to read Gift of the Givers has 800 – they donated a wheelchair to me for my husband after his stroke – I can’t describe the emotion I felt when they delivered it.

    God bless all of those who can help.

  • Anne De Wet says:

    It is such a shame that once again, the private sector has to step in to assist these distressed people because the government cannot meet their needs – poor and inadequate health services cause such sadness for these vulnerable people. What does the future hold because of these shortcomings where health care is so compromised and training of nurses is on the back burner!

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