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Technology has given me full life - despite having a disability

Mike Potter on his handcycle.

Mike Potter, our Marketing Manager Acquisition, acquired a paraplegia as result of a motor vehicle accident. Despite this tragic event Mike is faith-filled, perpetually optimistic and nothing is too hard. Today he tells us how technology impacted his recovery, what role it plays in his life today and highlights the importance of accessibility of technology for people with disabilities in poor countries.

December 3rd is International Day of Persons with Disabilities and we are pausing to think about the potential technology has to make our world more inclusive.

When I acquired a spinal chord impairment over 6 years ago, the internet helped me to adjust.  In the residential ward of a spinal unit I accessed a computer, typed in my disability and watched what people with the same disability could do, once they had gone through their rehabilitation.  Climbing a ladder to fix the roof and descending again, ascending Kilimanjaro, flying a plane and sailing a boat, all gave encouragement to pursue my hopes and dreams. The stories told me that most things were possible, if I was willing to think creatively and persevere with my dreams.

I am grateful to live in a country where technology enables people with disabilities to learn what is possible and in many cases achieve it. Sure there are still many places and people that create barriers for participation, and instances where what is needed is unaffordable, but these are the exception rather than the norm. Participating in a full family life of camping, swimming with my kids, travelling, biking, studying and even returning to work has been made possible through technology. Customised wheelchairs, a hand driven car, an accessible house- not just the bathroom, a handcycle, flexible hygienic catheters and a camping toilet are just some of the technologies that I am thankful for. 

However for many of the world’s poorest people who live with disabilities dreams will never be a reality. Poverty severely impacts access to the life changing technology that could improve their quality of life.  This is why I love cbm.  It is a trusted organisation that seeks to improve the quality of life of people with disabilities, people just like me, who also face the significant barrier of being unable to afford the technology required to participate in their community.  cbm partners with local organisations in the world’s poorest countries to find people whose quality of life is diminished by disability and expose them up to a world of possibility.  Through cbm’s expertise life transforming technology is provided so that people with disabilities can participate at home, in school, at work and in their community.   

Anishahs dream to go far and highAnishah is just one example of the many people cbm is helping. She dreams of becoming a pilot one day and doesn’t see her disability as a barrier. If she succeeds with her dreams not only will her life and her family be transformed but her community will see for themselves what is possible.  She will need more than the three-wheel chair to achieve her dreams, but with hard work and ongoing support through cbm a world of possibility is opening up for her community.

Several years ago our family decided to become cbm Child Sponsors. We feel privileged to be participating in the dreams of people like Anisha, bringing a world of possibility through technology to people with disability who simply couldn’t afford it.  You can read more about cbm’s life changing work here, or become a cbm Child Sponsor now.

Blessings
Mike


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