The story behind 4BF Inzu
What lies behind the idea of starting an NGO for paraplegic people in Rwanda is the tragic story of our friend Mechack.
After successfully graduating from highschool, Mechack Rwampungu joined Kigali Independent University (known as ULK) studying computer science. Meanwhile, he was working in a higher position at renown Kigali-based SEE FAR Enterprises, supplying IT services. In fact, Mechack was projecting far for his future.
My dream was getting my degree in the field of IT. I wanted to contribute to Rwanda’s fast digital development and to build on our future as a knowledge-based middle-income country.
Besides being a hard-working and determined student in his first year, Mechack was a raising basketball-star in the Rwandan national league, playing with Kacyiru-based Kigali Basketball Club (KBC) that dropped out of the leage in 2015. His teammates said Mechack played his best match ever just one week before the team was on its way to a match in Huye when a devastating accident ended and changed lives forever.
On March 1, 2015, Mechack was travelling together with his teammates to a basketball-match at University of Rwanda in Southern Province, Huye, by public transport. When trying to overtake, their Volcano-bus collided with a forthcoming truck. The bus overturnt three times down the hill before coming to a stop, totally destroyed. Twelve passengers died on spot and in the following days in hospital, among them KBC’s player Jean Guy Rutayisire. At least 15 passengers were admitted to King Faisal, Kibagabaga and CHUK hospitals in Kigali (article).
Among them was Mechack. For him, several months in intensive care station of King Faisal and hour-long stabilization operations followed. However, doctors could not save his damaged spine as it disposed a total rupture. Since March 1, 2015, Mechack is paraplegic. Mechack was able to leave hospital after almost four months.
Although specialists in Rwanda and Germany say he will never walk again, Mechack will beat your understanding with his optimistic attitude. Besides the enormous costs the family has to cover every month, the housing situation is a huge problem for Mechack and his future. Since the accident, he resides with family members in a rented house in Gisozi, where he is not able to move around with his wheelchair but for every movement depends on someone’s help. An independent life for him doesn’t seem realistic staying in this house. On top of that, for over two and a half years, Mechack did not leave the house except when going to hospital. Now he is going out sometimes but for people sitting in wheelchairs, it is almost impossible to move around Kigali due to many barriers everywhere and transportation problems. Mechack is working hard to gain back the most of independence possible. Therefore for over half a year he stayed at HVP Gatagara in Southern Province, a centre that aims to help PWD to re-adapt to daily life.
As his friends, we wanted to support Mechack on this way but soon realized that there is bigger effort to be done for him and many other PWD in Rwanda to be granted full participation in the society.
I want to prove the Rwandan society that life goes on also in a wheelchair, that we are still able to laugh, think, work – simply live as an equal human! I was in a dark place after the accident, but now I am ready to transform this society into an inclusive one and inspire other PWD.
And this is why we founded 4BF Inzu!