Meet Julias

I was three years old when I contracted polio. This meant I lost the use of my legs and was not able to get around. I was also the first-born child in the family so I didn’t have older siblings to help me. I was not treated well by the children in my community and I stayed at home all day. My father started taking me to school when I was fourteen years old but he passed away when I was eighteen. It meant that I could no go longer to school as I had no means of transport and the school was too far to crawl there. I had only reached Standard Four and have had no education since.

At the age of eighteen I started work at Kibebe Farm helping in the gardens. But this was not good as I was not gaining anything, it was just a means of income. I worked there for eleven years before I came to Neema Crafts. I came to learn new skills and I now know that even if I leave, I have something I can do. I was on a ten-month tailoring course at first and then I was told to go home and wait for an opening to come and work in the workshop. It was hard at home, because I had the skills and the machine but I did not have any customers. So when Neema called me to come and start work, I came immediately.

Now I have an income and the difficulties in my life have decreased. I have learnt new skills and am able to use them outside of Neema as well. I now live with my wife, my child and my younger brothers and I can support and provide for them. The community at my home engages with me in different activities and I feel part of the village for the first time. I still have dreams though, my hope in the future is to have a motorised hand-bike so that the 8 kilometre journey to work is made easier.