In 2015 Thobani, our Operation Hope Agricultural Advisor, told us he would like to raise awareness and sponsorship funds for our Operation Hope Swaziland projects by wheelchairing 17 kms from Siteki to Magazavane. Encouraged by his enthusiasm we all worked together as a team to make this happen. Here is his story…
Hello, my name is Thobani Zikalala.
As you can see from this picture of myself I have a disability. I have been in a wheelchair for the past 18 years although this has not stopped me from doing what I think I can do.
Growing up was really difficult for me learning to cope with no lower limbs. However, over time I have learnt that through belief in myself and the support of my family and friends I can achieve many things.
Here’s a little of what I have already accomplished:
• I have learnt to drive
• I have completed a Biblical and Life Skills Certificate
• I’ve climbed Sibebe Rock (the 2nd largest rock in the world)
• I have learnt how to use the computer
• I am proficient in agricultural skills
• I have been part of an international choir
• I am currently working for Operation Hope Swaziland – a Community Development organisation
Knowing that people care about you, gives you strength. I have been privileged to have people in my life that have cared for me and have showed me how to care and empower others. Now it is my time to pass on that love because I believe I am called to help others.
Well Thobani nailed it! Not only did he ride the 17 km with ease, he was able to highlight the work of Operation Hope in his community and raise awareness of the important issues people with disabilities are faced with in Swaziland. The 2 major newspapers in Swaziland were also on hand to report on the day.
We were honoured to have lots of friends and family support this event, as well as the local MP, the Regional Administrator’s representative, an elder, the Good Shepherd Hospital Home Based Care Team, some of the PDI team and the Siteki Police.
We couldn’t have been any prouder of Thobani’s amazing effort and advocacy.
The money raised from this event will go towards a Chicken Project that is being started up by a group of 30 disabled people from a rural community.