It is common for people to develop lifelong health complications if not well taken care of in their early years of growth like taking the recommended vaccines to protect them against immunizable diseases like polio, tetanus, measles and others.
This was the case for 47-year-old Musa Ochwane, a resident of Eldoret in Uasin Gishu County who was born normal but at the age of eight, something unusual happened.
He was diagnosed with hemiplegia as a result of polio, a disabling and life-threatening condition caused by polio virus.
According to Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the disease is caused by polio virus which spreads from person to person and infects a person’s spinal cord causing paralysis.
The World Health Organization further indicates that polio or poliomyelitis mainly affects children under 5 years of age and one in 200 infections leads to irreversible paralysis.
Ochwane used to depend on well-wishers for basic needs like food, clothing and others until 2020 when he felt it right to be independent.
Thankfully, the well-wishers responded positively to his call by donating to him necessary tools to start his shoemaking hustle in order to earn daily bread for himself and his family.
He started mending shoes along the streets of Kitale in 2020. He never lost hope after becoming helpless when the well-wishers’ support dwindled.
“I was helpless due to my nature. I couldn’t walk. I used to beg for food and clothing but I am grateful for everybody who came to my rescue. Friends helped me to buy cobbler tools at that time when I was residing at Kitale but I had to relocate because Kitale was quite sparsely populated and shoe mending business was very competitive and that forced me to move to Eldoret in 2020,” he recalled.
His job stabilized after he received further support from the Soltec Company which donated crutches and an umbrella to him.
In addition, the Social Services office in Kapsoya (Eldoret) gave him a permit exempting him from paying taxes to the municipality of Eldoret.
Ochwane says the business helps him a lot, as he is able to cater for his family needs, making him less dependent on the well-wishers’ help.
In an interview with KNA at his workplace along the Eldoret-Iten road, he said that shoemaking is an easy work as it doesn’t require any academic papers, and it can be done by both genders regardless of age as it only calls for hard work and skills.
Ochwane believes that nothing comes on a silver plate, it must be worked for.
Ochwane earns an average of Sh500 per day through shoe repair and polishing, cumulatively earning him Sh15, 000 per month. This he said helps him cater for his family’s needs.
He alluded that he is willing if given enough support to train as many jobless youths as possible on how to make a living and succeed through shoe making business.
“I am pleading with the huge number of idle youths across the country that they can become self dependent by being innovative,” said Ochwane.
By Ekuwam Sylvester and Faith Jelagat