Disability Not Inability: Untold Tale of FDYD Co-Founder Rex Kalima

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August 8, 2017 by Staff Reporter

“Don’t take your physical appearance as an excuse to change the environment you are living in,” quoted Rex Kalima, Co-founder for Forum for Development of Youth with Disabilities (FDYD).

Rex Tikondane Kalima was born in the year of Our Lord 1985. He was born in the family of four children in which he and his sister Fatima were born with physical disabilities.

Rex did his Primary School education at Chimtuwa and Chimutu Primary Schools Malawi’s capital city Lilongwe. He was then selected to Chimutu Community Day Secondary School where he did forms 1 and 2 and forms 3 and 4 at Chichiri Secondary School in Blantyre.

Born a person with physical disability, Rex told Africa Inspire Foundation what it means and how it feels to be disabled.

“Since my Childhood in Lilongwe l did not take my disability as a challenge, l would interact and play with my friends just like any other child but when my family moved to Blantyre most friends were avoiding me because of my physical appearance,” narrated Rex.

After finishing Secondary School Education at Chichiri Primary School, Rex tried to search for a job but all attempts went in vain he then enrolled at Soche Technical College in Blantyre were he did advance Diploma in Business Administration.

Rex hoped that with his qualification will get a white color job and life with change from worse to good but ironically he hard to suffer for more rejections.

Kalima Poses With Members Of Press

“With advance in Diploma in the envelope l stayed for three years without securing job. I wrote many application letters and attended many interviews but because of the view that people has in people with physical disabilities they did not offer me a job despite performing well in interviews,” said Kalima.

As the saying goes, ‘Life always provide us with a second chance’, after spending four years with no job while having an advance Diploma gathering dust in the house Rex and her sister thought of starting their own organization.

“l sat down with my sister on how we can voice out  and address the concerns for young people who were born with physical disabilities. Without the help from any donor community l and my sister struggled to source money and established the FDYD organization,” he said.

According to Kalima the organization started way back in 2008 and they used to meet under Mango tree in Bangwe Township, Blantyre.

“We used to meet under a mango tree because we had to money to rent an office. Sometimes when the weather was not friendly my parents could allow us to do the meetings inside our house.

We used to do some small scale business such as selling airtime and second hand clothes in order to fund some money to run the organization,’  narrated Rex to Africa Inspire Foundation.

Like focus eagles in the sky, Rex kept on focusing on the organization despite some friends pulling out from the organization.

“We had to struggle a lot because some of our friends started to quit as they were seeing no benefits by then. But this did not let us down we focused on and registered the organization to the Registrar General,” said Rex.

He added: “After registration the organization, we started writing proposals to some well wishers and by the grace of God we started receiving funding from some well wishers.”

With the funding, Rex managed to construct a beautiful office in Bangwe. DFYD initially enrolled 11 youth with physical disabilities but currently the number has increased to 205 beneficiaries acquiring basic education in subjects like Mathematics, English and Chichewa.

carpentry and joinery

“Apart from teaching the youths Mathematics, English and Chichewa we also provide vocational skills such as tailoring, carpentry and joinery,” Rex said.

Looking in the future Kalima said, “We want to open a centre were young people with disabilities can come and learn different skills such as computers and cell phones repairing.”

Having 205 beneficiaries ranging from the ages 7 – 40 years the organization has also managed to employ 14 people.

“Don’t look down on yourself because the secret of success is hard working and do not take your disability as an excuse,” Kalima advanced youth with physical disabilities.

For Feedback and Comments Whatsapp +265881184077 or Email: africainspirefoundation@gmail.com

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