Joseph Wangui: Championing Polio Eradication in Kenya
Polio Champion rises above adversity to support his community
When Joseph Ndegwa Wangui was 4 years old he contracted polio. It was 1970 and the polio vaccine wasn’t widely available in Kenya, where Joseph is from. The disease left a lasting mark on his life. But it was not just the physical toll he had to endure. It brought with it the emotional and financial burdens that would test his resilience.
To make matters worse, Joseph's father chose to leave the family, unable or unwilling to face the challenges posed by his son's disability. However, Joseph’s mother stood by him and they faced the world together. It was a difficult road, marked by hardship and struggle, but they stood united.
But in 2010 Joseph's mother passed away at the age of 58. Her unwavering love and determination had carried Joseph through the years, and her loss left a profound void in his life. It was during this time of grief that he met Joyce Wangari, who would become his wife.
In 2017, the couple welcomed a baby girl into their lives. In a heartfelt tribute to his late mother, Joseph and Joyce named their daughter Wangui, which means "my mom" in their native language of Kikuyu. It was a touching gesture that embodied the love and affection Joseph had for his mother.
Despite the challenges he has faced, Joseph is a man of incredible resilience and determination. He has channelled his experiences into a mission to uplift others. He established a school for tailoring and dressmaking, where he has trained countless young girls and boys, providing them with valuable skills. Through his dedication, he has empowered his students to lead successful lives.
Joseph is not just a mentor in the world of dressmaking. He is also an athlete with a passion for wheelchair basketball. He has become an integral part of the Kenya Wheelchair Basketball community, inspiring others with his tenacity and spirit on the court.
Beyond sports, Joseph is a coach of powerlifting, guiding aspiring athletes. His influence reaches far beyond the confines of a gym or basketball court. He has become a symbol of hope for his community.
Remarkably, Joseph's contributions do not stop there. He volunteers tirelessly in the polio eradication programme, determined to prevent others from suffering the way he did. In recognition of his dedication, Joseph has been named a Polio Champion in Nairobi County.
Joseph's life is a testament to the power of the human spirit. His story is one of resilience, love, and an unwavering commitment to making the world a better place for others. In the face of daunting challenges, Joseph has emerged as an inspiration to all who have the privilege of knowing him.
Joseph's remarkable story is one of resilience, determination, and a commitment to making a positive impact on the lives of others can triumph over even the most challenging circumstances. Joseph's ability to rise above adversity, support his community, and contribute to the eradication of polio in Kenya serves as an inspiring example of the indomitable human spirit. It reminds us that we have the power to overcome obstacles and create a better world through our actions and dedication to the well-being of others.