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The Wonder Welders of Tanzania


From: Melissa Enderle (melissa_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Sun Mar 13 2005 - 21:44:17 PST

Dear Arts folks,

This morning as I read the online news, I came across this article. It
struck me for two reasons - one that the story originated in Africa and the
other is that the highlighted artists have physical disabilities.

Like the article, I recall the disabled in Mali pedaling their hand-driven
wheelchairs through the congested roadsides, sharing the same space with
pedestrians carrying goods on their heads, donkeys, and cattle. As in the
story, many of the disabled (in Mali river blindness was the number-one
culprit) lined up at the few stoplights in the city, begging during the
moments vehicles paused for traffic. Polio and other diseases still afflict
the continent of Africa.

The article describes a success story that utilized the incredible upper
body strength of the men (who were also begging by the stoplight) with
polio. With some welding training and $70 a month, the men began turning out
sculptures of animals from scrap metal. The success has enabled the men to
update their equipment and become more self-sustaining.

A good short read.