Atilia's Story

My life changed forever in 2000, when I was involved in an accident at work. A huge container filled with building materials fell over, and trapped my leg underneath it. It all happened so quickly and it was a very confusing time for me. I didn’t understand what had happened, but some people took me to hospital, where they tried to save my leg. Unfortunately there was nothing that could be done, and it had to be amputated at the knee.

Before the accident, I had two jobs to look after my 5 children. In the morning I sold vegetables in the market and in the afternoon I worked on a building site, selling food and drink to the labourers. But when I lost my leg, I struggled so much to move around that it was impossible to continue this work. I ended up begging on the streets, but this was not enough to support my family.

I tried to get work selling vegetables again, but I did not even have enough money to buy from the suppliers, and they didn’t trust me. Finally I found some work picking vegetables at a farm, but my children had to come with me before school to carry the vegetables to the market. I could only move very slowly with my crutches.

It was at the market, where I first heard about Neema. Someone explained to me that they employed people with disabilities and so I applied for the job. They helped me to get an artificial leg and I have now been working here for over 10 years making jewellery and tassels. My job here has improved my life a lot. I am very grateful for my new house, which Neema helped me to build in 2016, and that my granddaughter (who I care for since my daughter died) now receives child sponsorship. One day I hope to use what I have learnt at Neema to open my own business.

Atilia makes jewellery and the tassels for our washbags and cushions.