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The VIDA Blog

Sisterhood of the Traveling Wheelchair

Tuesday, August 27, 2013 mick
VIDA volunteers, coordinators, and partners work together to deliver a much needed wheel chair from the United States to a small village in rural Sierra Leone. VIDA’s founding principles of partnership, friendship, and coordination have led to a successful delivery of a wheel chair to our good friend Saffa who lives in a war wounded and amputee village in Sierra Leone. (To learn more about Saffa’s story, follow the link below and watch the middle portion of the video.)

VIDA Coordinators Carly and Dave Lettero have twice visited the small village outside Kenema, Sierra Leone where Saffa calls home. The trips involved the installation of solar panels on a new school in the village and then a second trip to install solar power and lighting to the teachers quarters. Dave and Carly were befriended by an always smiling young man named Saffa who suffered an amputated leg as a child in the country’s tragic civil war. Saffa, although missing one leg was always optimistic, smiling, and playing with the other young people of the village. The Lettero’s were saddened to hear that Saffa recently lost his remaining leg and decided to do something about it. Getting a wheel chair from the US to Sierra Leone can be quite difficult but with VIDA’s network they knew it could be accomplished.

The Lettero’s first purchased and sent the wheel chair to VIDA Coordinator Kathryn Sonnie and Courtney Wood who were about to take a VIDA trip to Liberia for a new VIDA school opening. In Liberia Kathryn and Courtney met with VIDA partner Mildred Khalil from Engineers Without Borders- Sierra Leone. After the school opening Mildred rode public transportation back home to Sierra Leone with the wheel chair on the roof of the bus. As the bus passed near the amputee village on the way to Freetown, Mildred was able to deliver the wheelchair to another VIDA partner Mo Khalil who eventually delivered the wheel chair to Saffa!

Well done to everyone involved in this endeavor. You have dramatically improved the life of an individual living thousands of miles away who could have easily been forgotten. Whether VIDA projects serve thousands or just one, we mean to make a positive impact in the world and this is a great example.


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