The disabled children live about 7 km from Bukoba in an area called Mugeza. There they have very basic facilities, no frills. There is also a ‘Deaf and Dumb’ school very close by, operated by IZAAS. Unfortunately, the children do not have access to organized exercise or physical therapy. There are a few doctors who volunteer for Raza and his IZAAS program: Tanzanians, Americans and Europeans alike. They do everything from screening and registration with the medical system to actual operations.
Amazingly, there have been several cases where the child has been disabled for years, deaf for example, and due to lack of medical attention and money the families have no idea, or the ability to find out, that a simple operation can cure them! The doctors have screened over 200 of the deaf children alone and there are several dozen who are on the waiting list for an operation which is expected to cure them! It is very difficult to find the funding and Raza puts up his own personal money, along with whatever he receives from the occasional donation that comes in to help these children. Raza’s system is very well organized and he has budgeted that he can pay for 3-4 of these children’s operations per month. This is in addition to the immense amounts of money that he allots to various other needy cases each DAY! He is truly an inspiration and lives a simple life according to my standards but EXTREMELY well for the standard of living for locals here. He has been a successful business man and has continued his late father’s way of living to help the needy.
It is difficult to imagine being disabled for your entire life and finding out that there was a simple operation that could cure you, or at least improve your life dramatically, and not being able to afford it. A few hundred dollars couldn’t even get you IN to most of the doctors’ offices in NYC and here it would cover the transportation cost to Dar es Salaam or Nairobi where there are major hospitals, along with the entire operation and prescribed medications! Sadly though, even after the operations have been a success, there is little to no after care available.However, they manage to get along better than before (walking with a limp is much better than being wheelchair bound due to a severe case of club foot- VERY VERY common here for some reason).
There are about 75 children living at the disabled center at present. They are SO sweet and friendly and love talking to visitors.Their spirit is amazing and inspirational!I love going up there and playing with them, it is really heart warming.