Brazilian Crossing Africa On Foot Now in Malawi Heading Egypt
Lion Jose Castro, a Brazilian Lion's Club member hopes to cross Africa walking on foot. He took off from Cape Town, South Africa and is now in Lilongwe, Malawi.
His mission is to raise awareness on the difficulties that wheelchair-bound people face.
And in trying to drive his message home, he is pushing a wheelchair on the journey.
“People don't understand much about challenges disabled people face. But we have to come together to make the world a better place for them,” Castro said adding “There is no country in the world with full accessibility for persons with disabilities.
“In some countries, there is literary nothing. So we need, a society that can change this picture and build an accessible world. Impossible? Not, but the need is to start”.
Castro, 62, has sponsored his expedition. Each day, he ensures coverage of at least a 100 kilometres and he is focused on bringing to light the plight of the disabled.
He has so far been to South Africa, Botswana, Swaziland, Lesotho and Zambia.
The social activist, Lion Castro, longs to fulfill Lion's Club International pillars of fighting diabetes, cancer, youth empowerment, environment and sight.
Lion Castro crossed the Zambia border into Malawi through Mchinji boarder-post around mid-day Sunday and was met on arrival by members of Lions Club, Malawi.
Fundraising District Chairperson for Lions Club District 412B comprising of Malawi and Mozambique, Lion Stewart Munthali, said authorities need to embrace challenges the disabled face, and Castro's efforts should be as a starting example.
“Issues of physical access by persons of disability are huge and crosscutting although largely hidden. Bringing awareness to these issues is a first step and does not end there. The next step is to work with policy frameworks and workplace initiatives to advance improvements and recognition,” he said.
Public Relations Officer for the Malawi Council for the Handicapped-MACOHA, Harriet Kachimanga, said Castro's initiative will help people realize challenges faced by the disabled in society and get them to do something to alleviate suffering.
“It's a big issue in areas such as access to education, health care, livelihood services, just to mention a few. In many institutions such as schools and hospitals, structures are in accessible for those with mobility challenges,” she said adding this extends to people with hearing and visual impairment in school, hospitals and other institutions.
“The end result is that persons with disabilities become excluded in the society,” she said.
On arrival in Mchinji, Lion Castro visited Home of Hope orphanage where, together with other Lions, cheered children and planted some trees.
Lion Castro hopes to end his journey in Alexandria, Egypt where he hopes to arrive on 3rd December, 2020; International Day for Disabled People.