In the green hills of Miiri lies the border of between Nyeri and Kirinyaga counties – a green landscape, permeated with numerous banana stumps many reeling from the weight of the green fruit. Across each road is a picturesque of farms on end with arrowroot leaves craning their necks to outdo each other for sunshine as the women, men, and children alike pull out huge tubers of sweet potatoes.
This is also the home of Teresa Wakaguyu Mbute - a mother of one who has lived with disability. The team from Optiven Foundation was the reason she had crawled out of her house in the early hours of the morning to sit by the roadside and wait to welcome them. Her grandchildren keen to see who are these visitors and why are they coming to see their grandmother? We arrive at the road sign with a huge road sign indicating you are now entering Kirinyaga county.
The sign does not intimidate the peasant farmer who is now overjoyed by what the day has brought, for her journey of many years of being dependent on her only child to carry her are about to come to an end. The team from Optiven Foundation disembarks with the tools, gifts and a brand new wheelchair – their presence here an offshoot of what the Optiven Group does in its bid to transform the society.
The embankment towards the house is steep as it sits on the side of a hill – the location itself a clear challenge that for Teresa to move from her home it is an arduous task, made even more tricky should the rain fall on this red soiled hill. Her face is filled with emotion, she looks to the sky as if expecting a voice to say something to her, then she turns her face to the cameraman – a mentee under cohort two of the Optiven Graduate Mentorship Programme.
As if on cue, she breaks into a song of thanksgiving while giving a remarkable smile for what fate has brought her way. With the team is Edith Hunja - a well wisher who had by chance seen Teresa as she crawled her way in the streets of Karatina – a hardworker, minding her business, making ends meet, despite living with disability and being of advanced age at a ripe age of sixty seven years.
According to Ms. Hunja the idea of helping Teresa would certainly be achieved if the same was sent to facebook. The post was then picked by an Optiven Customer who herself became an instant philanthropist because for every sale of land through Optiven Limited, 5% of the income goes back to the foundation. According to Njoki wa Westlands she said I was at home from Germany visiting with family and after seeing this old lady struggling to crawl, I remembered that I had seen a facebook live recording of Optiven Foundation giving out a wheelchair on Valentines Day.
ABOVE: Teresa is all smiles as she tests her brand new wheelchair at Miiri in Karatina on 11/11/2019 under the Mobility that Brings Smiles campaign.
I then send the request through the Chairman of the foundation Mr. George Wachiuri – and voila it was delivered to Mama Teresa at Miiri. I am so grateful to be a philanthropic partner of Optiven Group and for the difference that the Optiven Foundation is making!’. The Optiven Foundation launched the Mobility that Brings Smiles at the beginning of 2019 with a bid to reach out to those abled differently by giving them wheelchairs.
The initiative has seen the foundation travel to different parts of the country to empower members of the community who are in dire need of the wheelchairs. In the year 2019, the Optiven Foundation has issued wheelchairs to different beneficiaries including women, men and children living in different counties including Kirinyaga, Nyeri, Murang’a, Kiambu, Kisii, Machakos, Kericho and Loitoktok among others.
Speaking at the launch of the campaign, Mr. Wachiuri said, ‘the need to provide mobility is what will make a difference in the lives of beneficiaries, making them not only independent but also self sustaining in terms of getting an income from their activities. Through the Mobility that Brings Smiles campaign, we are sure that a child who would otherwise not leave the house, will be able to even go to school and a woman who has been immobile for one reason or another, will be able to contribute positively to the society’.
The campaign has received great partnerships from the public including enterprises as well as individuals who have donated wheelchairs to the Optiven Foundation. The campaign continues to provide an opportunity for partnership where those willing to give any amount you can do so through our paybill number 898630. The partnerships also welcome any donation of actual wheelchairs at the Optiven Foundation offices located at the 14th and 15th floors of Barclays Plaza in Nairobi.
Will you join us today? Together let us transform the society, giving more smiles, one individual at a time.
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