“When I grow up, I want to be a doctor so I can save lives”, These are the words of 10-year-old Sidorf. He almost abandoned his dream of becoming a medical doctor because of the limitations he faced as a person with a disability. In a country where most public buildings lack disability-friendly structures, the situation can only be dire in rural communities.
Sidorf recounts moments when he could not attend classes because the school was too far and he could not enter the classrooms without support. “There were times I had to stay home because there was no one to help me get to school. This felt very embarrassing for me”, he says. With an outgrown dilapidated wheelchair, Sidorf would struggle to fit himself into it daily, putting himself at risk of added injury because he had no other alternative.
“I did not think I could get a new wheelchair; this one was given to me by my local hospital", he says. "My parents cannot afford to buy a brand new one so I had to manage what I had even if it was old.” The rickety wheelchair affected Sidorf’s posture and also gave him swollen feet.
Due to frequent breakdown of the wheelchair, Sidorf had to be carried by colleagues and teachers from his house, which is a kilometre away from his school, so as to have access to education, even in a six-unit disability-friendly block donated by World Vision.
There are times that Sidorf went through pain in the process and even fell to the ground due to mishandling. With the discomfort, he altogether stopped school temporarily. During his time at home, he contemplated finding a job to support himself. However, there weren’t many options for him.
World Vision noticed Sidorf’s situation soon after, and realised it was negatively impacting his education. World Vision went to see Sidorf's parents to understand what the situation was at home. Through their interactions with Sidorf’s parents, World Vision saw the need to donate a new wheelchair to Sidorf.
According to Kennedy, “Sidorf is naturally not the smiling type. But there he was beaming with smiles as we showed him how to operate the new wheelchair. The new wheelchair allows him to move around freely, and will help restore dignity to him and others in a similar position to his”.
With a new wheelchair, Sidorf is now back in school and doing very well with his classes. “Without the wheelchair, I would have been a school dropout with no money or hope for the future”, he tells us with excitement.
Sidorf now has a different outlook on life. He believes that through his education and hard work, he can become a doctor. With regained hope and self-confidence, Sidorf is thriving in school thanks to the generous donation from World Vision.