Every time Naswirah from Uganda would go her routine home shopping at a nearby market, she noticed a disabled cobbler. She wondered how he managed to commute throughout the week. Out of compassion, Naswirah always offered a dollar to the man for his transport.
“Over time, we became friends and exchanged phone numbers. I learned that his name was Nicholas Mujinya,” she shared.
In 2022, Naswirah attended GPW’s Sunshine Family Volunteers coordinator training and learned about the power and potential of the culture of service and peace. Putting this thought into action, she and her family decided to pay a visit to Nicholas.
“My mum welcomed the idea because we also have a brother living with disability. Also, after the death of our father, we were also raised by community members who offered food, clothes and scholastic materials to us,” she said.
On 26th June, Naswirah and her two brothers visited Nicholas in his home in Kyera village, 124km away from her home. Her mother sent them off with full support, but could not join the group as she had to care of Naswirah’s disabled brother.
The family spent 7 hours at Nicholas’ home. They brought with them gifts: a loaf of bread, 2kgs of sugar, and two bars of soap and tools, a hammer, threads to repair shoes, glue, needles and a pair of scissors, to support Nicholas’ work. But more significant, was the time spent together, sharing the challenges that they share as families with disabilities, the gratitude and hope that encourages them, and the power of service.
Nicholas, 33, lives with his elderly grandmother who is 73 years in an old shanty house. He is the breadwinner in the home as a shoe repairman at the neighboring trading center, 7 km away from his home. He uses his hands to roll himself from place to place. His trousers get torn quickly. Sometimes he gets pierced by thorns or bruised by stones on rocky paths. One day he was knocked down by a speedy car on his way from work. He spent the entire night in roadside ditch. ”A volunteer took me to the hospital in the morning where l got treatment and used all my savings,” he shared.
Nicholas hasn’t been able to restart his business in full since that unfortunate incident. He does not have enough money to open a store where he can store client’s shoes. Instead he carries everything in a heavy bag. “I do not have a wheelchair to ease my movement,” he shared.
Yet, gratitude to God sustains Nicholas. He happens to be the only survivor of a batch of polio vaccinations. He is alive, he can dream, and he can work towards those dreams.
“Despite all the challenges, Nicholas deeply loves God and his family and understands that ‘peace begins at home’. Regardless of his condition, he envisions that a day will come when he will renovate his grandmother’s house and install solar power in their home,” said Naswirah.
“It was very significant to both families. This was the first SFV in our lives,” reflected Naswirah.
For Naswirah, she witness the harsh realities facing people with disabilities in Uganda. It has strengthened her resolve to be social worker to improve her community. Her family promised to mobilize resources with the Rotary Club, Lions and Red Cross to get Nicholas a wheelchair.
The GPW SFV initiatives provide families across the globe with an opportunity to volunteer, share love and peace and instills a culture of being service minded in them. It gives the family members involved an opportunity to bond, gain self-confidence and nurtures a life-long passion and commitment towards community service. If you have a Sunshine Family Volunteer story to share or your family wants to start a project, email firstname.lastname@example.org.