Monday, 29 November 2010

The 'Voice of the People' Feature Profile #3: Disabled and destitute

Mr B
This is a sad story of sickness and pain that has led to disability and poverty. Mr B had polio as a child and never fully recovered. He did not have an opportunity to have a good education particularly because he was a sickly child. As he grew up he recovered from polio somewhat and started working  carrying out menial tasks as a farm hand, gardening and anything he could find. Ten years ago he struggled to find work in Malawi so he moved to Zambia to find similar work. He said that he became very ill while in Zambia and his family arranged for him to be returned to Malawi. He never fully recovered from that illness and never walked again. Unable to walk and without an education Mr B became unemployable and has spent the last seven years as a beggar on the streets of Mzuzu, Malawi in his 'chariot' which it a converted bicycle specially made so that he would  be able to mobilise. 

Life is hard for disabled people particularly in developing economies (third world countries) if they come from poor families that rely on the strength of their bodies to earn money or gain food through agriculture. While there is an established extended family network in these cultures, poverty makes it difficult to look after disabled relatives. The is a reliance on these members of society to contribute to the family by begging which in itself can be difficult in that one has to travel to cities to beg which can be far from traditional villages and homesteads where the people live. People like Mr B have to their best to contribute where they can and it was during this effort that I met him and was able to speak with him briefly. He did not want to speak for too long as he was losing opportunities to appeal to passers by for assistance. 

The Art of Being Humane gave Mr B some funding for food to assist him which he was very pleased and grateful for. There is so much that needs to be done for Mr B and people in his position and sharing his story is a small step towards raising awareness to the trouble they face. 


  1. So glad I found this site through Saturday Sampling. The title grabbed me as my husband and I are both disabled and living under the poverty line. When I read this story I realized how blessed I am to be living in America.

  2. Emily thank you so much for sharing your comments, and I am glad that this story has moved you...welcome to the Art of Being Humane. Rue


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