Eliezey Salum
Eliezey Salum's Story

Eliezey Salum

I’ve had polio in my legs since birth, which means I’ve always had to crawl around. We had very little money, so my parents couldn’t buy me a wheelchair. I desperately wanted to go to school, but my parents told me I couldn’t because I couldn’t walk. “You can’t go, don’t keep asking!” they’d say, so I tried to keep quiet. I was very sad because I was too afraid to tell them how I really felt, just in case they sent me away. I didn’t want to make them angry.

There was nothing to do at home and I got very bored. All my friends were at school and I felt low almost every day. I used to try to get around to see other disabled people, just so I could feel I wasn’t alone. I felt a bit better when I did this and made some good friends.

I now have a wheelchair at Neema Crafts which I use everyday, and thanks to Neema I also have one at home. If there was no one around, I used to have to stay indoors but now I don't have to depend on someone to pick me up if I want to go outside. Between home and work, I use a three-wheeled bicycle Neema has given me, which has been really helpful too.

I’ve always found the people here to be very friendly. Nobody ever seems to quarrel, which I like. I enjoy my work very much too, weaving scarves, bags and cushions. My parents are both proud of me now. I don't think they thought I would ever have a job. It’s been easier to support them since I’ve been working, particularly my mother, who’s sick. It’s the first opportunity I’ve had to prove myself and I feel I can do things just as well as anybody now. The life I have now is better than the one I had as a child. I can work, I have money and I feel confident. I joined 10 years ago now and I want to stay here, lead a good life and save money for the future.