Songambele Charitable Trust was formed in 2006. It was formed to save the interest of women and children with disabilities in Tanzania. It was officially registered with government in 2009 as a non profit organization.
Very often, when a person loses the use of a limb or any part of his/her body through an accident or disease, that person is usually shocked and experiences trauma. To be told that ‘You will never be able to walk again....’ or ‘you will never be able to use your arm again....’ is like being sentenced to death.
And in deed, many accident victims who become disabled die within six months of being discharged from the hospitals.
Persons with disabilities have been greatly deprived of their economic base and means of livelihood. They have been incapacitated in meeting their basic needs such as food, clothing, shelter and other life essentials. This has in turn compelled them to beg or be dependent on their families, relatives, and the community as a whole.
Basic needs for people with disabilities would include self management, use of toilet, washing, dressing, transfer from bed to the wheelchair, access into public buildings, private buildings, boarding public vehicles etc. These are ordinary activities that able-bodied people take for granted and never think twice when performing them. However, for a person with disability it is a gargantuan task. Some of these normal everyday activities are even very humiliating when a person with disability has to be assisted by a junior member of the family or one of opposite gender. For a woman it is even worse. The needs of a woman with disability are unique as it were.
It is against this backdrop that the six members of this group met on 9th.April 2009, to share their different experiences and concerns. Two members of the group are wheelchair users having received spinal cord injuries (SCI), after they were involved in separate road accidents. The other four are very closely involved in giving care and support to disabled folk. It was at this meeting that the decision to start a support group was reached. This group would address the noted shortcomings