Each year Rotary eClub One nominates an individual for a Distinguished Service Award. In 2012 Rotary eClub One nominated David Talbot, who heads up the "Crutches for Africa" program a non-profit initiative. After working on a documentary film and seeing a need, Dave developed this program to deliver crutches to Africa.
Rotary eClub One was impressed by Dave who, as a polio survivor himself, is very aware of mobility issues. While in Africa he saw many people using tree limbs or other rough devices to get around. In some cases people just scooted along on the ground using their hands and arms for motion. This is how the concept of "Crutches for Africa" developed. When Dave returned to this country he became aware of the thousands of crutches that were buried in landfills across the U.S. Through this program he has managed to bring hope and dignity to thousands of children and adults that can now move off the ground and become participants in society.
Below is an article written by Talbot, a member of Mountain Foothills Rotary Club, District 5450 (Colorado). The Crutches for Africa Website is www.crutches4africa.org.
Crutches for Africa Update
By Dave Talbot
Special Report from the Rotary District 5450 Newsletter
Since the new constitution was ratified in 2010 a great deal of activity has flourished in Kenya for people with disabilities. There are specified seats for people with disabilities in their new senate and new interest in creating greater access for people with disabilities. One of the major problems is that the vast majority of public toilets in the country are of the "bomb site" style, a hole with footprints on either side. What does someone in a wheelchair do with this situation? Worse yet, how does someone crawling deal with this? This is only the tip of the iceberg.
We have been working with local groups that have very successfully handled two distributions now. They have taken us into the bush along the coast and also inland where we have been part of the distribution to groups at these locations.
I am starting with the evaluations and then I am stepping back and observing the Kenyans as they proceed with the distribution. This is the best direction for distribution to go. On their own, the groups have set into motion tracking measures so anyone trying to "double dip" and receive extra mds will be found out.
The needs here stagger me. Today in particular we had so many people with Cerebral Palsy. Very little that we can do other than collect more baby joggers as these seem perfectly suited to this need. Then there are the horrific infections. What can be done here?
Always we receive requests for workshops. It seems each group has a desire to maintain their equipment, or build a learning center for the disabled. I explain that the scope of what Crutches 4 Africa is dedicated to doing is bringing mobility devices to them, period. We have found a way to help here though. We are in the early stages of building a web site that will provide space for each county of Kenya. Each county will have space for each disability group to list needs, goals, knowledge, expertise, whatever, so long as it fits into established guidelines. This will increase the communication between groups in the country and provide a worldwide platform for disability groups to express their needs and seek sponsors for their projects and programs. The Kenyan site will be named Disability Network Kenya or, D.N.K. The goal will be to incorporate every country in Africa with similar sites/pages. The general website for access to each country will be Disability Network Africa or D.N.A. (the strands of life).