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Patuma's Story

Patuma is a bright six-year-old girl who lives with her mother in Malawi.

Patuma’s challenges started at a young age and a problem with her spine meant that she could not stand or sit unassisted. There was no support available in their community and this meant that Patuma was not receiving the help she needed.

As other children began to play and learn together, Patuma was unable to join them. Without the equipment or training to move on her own, Patuma was often left watching from afar. She relied totally on her mother for assistance for everything from moving to eating.

Patuma was in danger of being isolated from her peers, and lacking the professional care to help her become more independent, she began to fall behind in her early milestones.

This is where we came in.

In Malawi, alongside our network member the Federation of Disability Organisations in Malawi (FEDOMA), Able Child Africa rolled out its inclusive Early Childhood Development project which identifies children with disabilities as early as possible and ensures they are enroled into schools with community caregivers trained in inclusive education practices.

Crucially, Patuma was given a wheelchair that was distributed in the first phase of the project. Patuma was immediately able to move unassisted more than she could before. Once she was registered at the early childhood education (ECE) center in her area, the caregivers began assisting Patuma with her fine and gross motor skills through basic physiotherapy. Patuma’s coordination was soon improved and she was taught exercises to help her into the future.

At the center, children with and without disabilities are taught and encouraged to learn through play together, and Patuma started taking part in the activities alongside her peers. Her confidence grew and she began to thrive.

Through the physical care and inclusive support that Patuma received, she is not just looking forward to playing more at school with her friends, but has also found her voice.


Together, we can transform the lives of more children like Patuma.

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