The First Lady Gertrude Mutharika has called on people in the country to give a lot of support to people, especially children living with various kinds of disabilities to ensure that they have equal chances of fulfilling their potential in life and make a positive contribution to the development of the country.
Mutharika was speaking on Monday at Mmbuka Village in the area of Traditional Authority Machinjiri in Blantyre where she paid a visit to the family of 12 year-old Francis Makwerani, a boy with a physical disability.
Francis, a Standard One pupil at Ngumbe Primary School, caught the attention of the First Lady when he was featured in MBC TV’s ‘Reach out and Touch’ Programme.
The First Lady explained that she was moved by the plight of the boy as revealed in the programme.
“I learned from the programme that Francis crawls about six to eight kilometres to school. I saw Francis Makwerani in one of the clips crossing the road, crawling from school. Since I watched that programme three weeks ago, I have not been at peace. I strongly felt that I needed to do something for Francis. That I have finally come here today, met this boy and hand him a wheel chair and a few other items for him and his family to use for the mean time, I believe my heart would be at peace now,” said Mutharika.
Apart from the wheelchair, the First Lady also announced a bursary to SOS Village boarding school for the boy to access his education without any mobility challenges.
The other items donated by the First Lady include five bags of maize weighing 50 kilogrammes each, cooking oil, two bales of sugar, salt, cartons of laundry and toilet soap, blankets, exercise books, a school bag as well as clothes.
“I do not want just to look and address problems that Francis has today, we need to look at his future as well. As far as I am concerned, just like any other child, Francis has potential to become somebody big and important and that can only happen if he has a chance to attain his education. That is why through the Ministry of Gender, Child Welfare and Disability we have secured a boarding school for him at SOS,” she said.
Francis’s father hailed the First Lady for the donation.
“We are very grateful to the First Lady. For us, as parents, we could not even imagine that anyone of her status would care to leave everything to come and visit us. Francis loves school so much so that he cries every day that he misses classes. We are very happy that he will now be able to attend school each and every day like any other normal child because he now has mobility means and will be taken to a boarding school,” said Makwerani.
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