Children's Health OurHealth

Child waits 10 years for wheelchair

Written by Bontle Motsoeneng

Tumelo Letsitsa from Qwaqwa is like “a new child” ever since he got a wheelchair a month ago.

Wheel chair

Qwaqwa businessman Ismail Kathrada stepped in and bought Tumelo a wheelchair (File photo).

For 10 years, Tumelo, who lives with his grandmother, has been forced to sit in one spot, day in and day out. Tumelo is a paraplegic, having been born without the use of his legs, and his grandmother could not afford to get him a wheelchair.

Instead, she would help him get dressed in the morning and then put him on a chair for the day. When it was time to rest, she would pick him up and lay him down again. Getting him to school was the hardest task. They live in a village far from school and so carrying him to a taxi to take him to school wasn’t an option.

That was Tumelo’s life until a local newspaper highlighted his plight and a stranger came forward to help.

“I could not afford a wheelchair for my grandson and did the best I could,” says his grandmother, Matshepiso Letsitsa. “I was really struggling with him.”

When Shuyab Kathrada, son of Qwaqwa businessman Ismail Kathrada, who is director of Sasol Route 7 garage, saw the article, he was moved, and immediately went about getting everything in place to donate the wheelchair to Tumelo.

“My father taught me about ploughing back into the community and so I was doing what he taught me. We also build houses for old people in community” says Kathrada.

Since handing over the wheelchair, Kathrada has been to visit Tumelo a few times.

“He is attending school now and he seems quite happy. The main thing is that he can now get around. At least his gran can now wheel him to a taxi that can take him to school,” Kathrada told OurHealth.

“My prayers were answered,” says Tumelo’s grandmother. “I am so happy that finally my cry for help did not fall on deaf ears. We are both over the moon with this brand new wheelchair, and it has changed Tumelo’s life as he can now get around. This gift is so important, we are so grateful to the Kathrada family.” – Health-e News

 

About the author

Bontle Motsoeneng

Bontle Motsoeneng is an OurHealth Citizen Journalist reporting from the Free State’s Thabo Mofutsanyane Health District.