[27-year-old Ali Omar fixes an adjustable wheelchair at the Community Based Rehabilitation Centre run by the Lutheran World Foundation (LWF) in Hagadera, Dadaab Refugee Camp. PHOTO: Julisha.Info]


Did you know that globally about 1.18 billion people are living with disability? According to the World Health Organization (WHO), about 15 percent of the world’s population are experiencing some form of disability. This number nearly equals the entire population of India, the world’s second-most populous country.

Despite being quite common, in some settings disability is still viewed as a taboo, curse or burden. The situation is not any different in a refugee camp setting. Persons with Disability (PWDs) remain at risk of facing physical and psychological abuse due to ignorance, poverty, and lack of awareness among the refugees and host communities.

In Dadaab, Noor Ibrahim,29 and 27-year-old Ali Omar chose to make a difference. The two have had no other job their entire life but serving refugees living with disabilities. Noor says he will mark this year’s International Youth Day as a special occasion for him to celebrate his 13 years of serving PWDs. He is a technical artisan supervisor based at the Community Based Rehabilitation Centre run by the Lutheran World Foundation (LWF) in Hagadera.

“I have learned a lot about various forms of disability and the kind of assistance that is needed. No one can escape disability. We all need to have these skills. Disability can occur at any time, to you or someone very close to you. Disability is not a taboo or a curse,” explains Noor.


[Noor Ibrahim, LWF’s Artisan Supervisor fixing a wheelchair at the organization’s Community-Based Rehabilitation Centre in Hagadera, Dadaab. PHOTO: Julisha.Info]

Noor and Ali do a hands-on job. Upon issuance of mobility devices to PWDs in the camp, they are tasked with training clients on their use, repair, and maintenance. What’s even more exciting is their teamwork. These two are trained to repair and produce custom-made wheelchairs, toilet seats, and even aids for children with cerebral palsy for their support in sitting and standing.

Ali explains that persons using tri-cycle wheelchairs still face mobility challenges in the camp. The area has a lot of sand and just like the supported wheelchairs - for the elderly and children with cerebral palsy, most clients cannot cycle from one place to another without help. Ali wants more youth to embrace and grow a culture of helping those who need to be pushed on wheelchairs.

“We give pumps, wheel spanners and we help them learn how to fix punctures and simple mechanical challenges. Despite this support, in the camp, the sand makes tri-cycle wheelchair movement a challenge. Mostly, clients will need to be pushed to move and access services in the camp. We should always be ready to assist,” appeals Ali.

Amina (not her real name), a mother of 7, is one of their clients. She suffered an illness that forced her to require optimum support from her two sons since June 2020. She could not stand on her own. This also meant she faced challenges in accessing basic services such as healthcare that is provided free of charge to Refugees and asylum seekers in camp.

It was until March 2021 that her sons through the support of the community leaders took her to the LWF Community Based Rehabilitation center where Noor and Ali serve.


[PHOTO: Ali and Noor cutting pieces of timber used for making toilet seats for PWDs at the LWF Community Based Rehabilitation Centre in Hagadera./Julisha.Info]

At the Rehabilitation center in Hagadera, Amina was put on physiotherapy and was offered free assistive devices. She is now able to move on her own after a series of physiotherapy sessions.

“I started with Physiotherapy and after one month, I improved and could stand on crutches. I was given axillary crutches to support my movement. Currently, I use one. My health has improved, and I will continue coming here for physiotherapy so that I can attain full recovery,” narrates Amina.

Ali and Noor help children and adults who have sustained injury and or have a disability to obtain and learn to use wheelchairs, white canes, toilet seats walking sticks, elbow and auxiliary crutches.

Other than provision, repair, and maintenance of assistive and mobility devices, the LWF rehabilitation center offers services such as:

  • Provision of visual and hearing aids, including sunscreen cream to the albino community
  • Occupational Therapy, Physiotherapy, Psychosocial Support Services, Speech Therapy, etc.
  • Provision of Fresh Food Vouchers (FFVs) to vulnerable CWDs & PWDs for their nutritional support and dietary needs.
  • Referrals for Livelihoods support, Health services, Inclusive Education, Protection, Non-Food Items, Shelter, WASH, Alternate Food Collection, etc.
  • Specialized services such as corrective surgery and provision of prosthetic services
  • Support of the bedridden PWDs with dignity kits, high-density mattresses to prevent pressure sores including postural management and mobility aid training.
  • Counseling services, home-based therapy, home visits and follow-ups.

Would you like to speak to LWF or seek their services at the Community Based Rehabilitation Centre in Dadaab?

The LWF run rehabilitation center in Dadaab is open to clients. All services offered to Persons with Disability at the facility are FREE of charge. You can make further inquiries on these services by calling the LWF Toll-Free line: 0800721316

You can watch Noor and Ali’s story on our Facebook Page here.

If you have any questions, please write to us via the Julisha.Info Facebook page, Monday through Saturday from 08:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.