Jonah Sialumano is a key worker at Health Help International in Monze, Zambia. As Disability Affairs Manager he deals with both individuals and organisations and also coordinates projects which support disabled people living in and around Monze and the wider community.
At the age of three Jonah contracted polio and as a result he uses crutches so understands first-hand the difficulties facing disabled people in Zambia. However, it is not just the challenge of mobility in an inhospitable terrain or the poor prospects of employment for a disabled person which are an issue. The question of expectation and attitude also need to be considered.
Last year, along with his wife Prisca, a special needs teacher, and his two sons, Jonah visited Masongozi where he had been raised by his grandmother. The villagers were genuinely amazed to see Jonah. They could not believe that the young disabled boy they remembered was married and had a family. The prospects they had envisaged for him were a world away from the reality of Jonah, the champion of disability and international speaker.
It seems that Jonah is also quite good at keeping secrets. When he visited Wales in December 2015, a guest of Disability Wales Africa, he made no mention of the fact that his wife Prisca was pregnant. So, it was a lovely surprise for us to learn that Kumamela, whose name means ‘taking care’, had arrived on 25th May. We send our very best wishes to Jonah, Prisca and their sons Kayabu and Sishemo who, according to Jonah, ’are very happy and busy watching the baby in most of the time’.
See a further picture in the 'Gallery'.