Wheelchair for Mati
Organized by: Michael Cavaliere
Mati is 33 years old and lives in Guédiawaye, a suburb of Dakar, Senegal. He contracted polio when he was 2 years old and lost the use of his legs from irreversible paralysis. The wheelchair he uses to get around is in really bad shape and needs to be replaced. He has written to local NGOs for assistance, but no one has responded to his letters.
Mati belongs to a collective of artists and dancers - 5 handicapped guys in their 30s - who make a living selling paintings on Gorée Island, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and monument to the Atlantic slave trade. Tourism in the West African region has declined significantly since the Ebola virus epidemic in 2014, so Mati is having a hard time making ends meet. He has no formal education and no health insurance, and he relies on friends and family for support.
In his free time, Mati likes to go to the beach and play handicap football and basketball. He also takes English classes at the British Senegalese Institute so he can sell more paintings to tourists visiting Gorée Island.
I'm trying to raise $1,000 USD to buy Mati a new wheelchair and pay for 1 year of English classes.
Poliomyelitis is an infectious disease caused by the poliovirus. While the disease has largely been eradicated through global vaccination programs, the virus is considered endemic in 3 countries: Afghanistan, Nigeria and Pakistan. In Senegal, polio has been eradicated since 2010, when 18 cases were last reported. For more information, visit the website of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, a public-private partnership led by national governments and spearheaded by the World Health Organization.