Challenged to Lift the Challenged, Jennifer Mensah-Bonzie’s Life passion

Challenged to Lift the Challenged, Jennifer Mensah-Bonzie’s Life passion

Challenged to Lift the Challenged, Jennifer Mensah-Bonzie’s Life passion

By Lilian Chudey Pride

Challenged at age three (3 years of age) by Poliomyelitis (Polio), Jennifer  Mensah-Bonzie found  hope and lease of life in the benevolence of a benefactor whose relocation to Ghana for humanitarian service turned the lights on for Jennifer to see beyond physical disability.

I met this angel, Mrs. Jennifer Mensah-Bonzie recently  in Dayton, Ohio, United States, where she was Guest Speaker at the Nigerian Women Cultural Organization (NWCO)  event.

  • Publisher, iwriteafrica.com, Lilian Chudey Pride(Left) with Jennifer Mensah-Bonzie in Dayton, Ohio, United States.

Vivacious, with smiles that seemed like permanent feature of her (face), Jennifer’s disposition speaks volume about a personality that has devoted her life to touch lives in genuine reciprocity of how she was positively touched and transformed by the benefactor she calls “My advocate”, Dr. Tarcius DeRuyter, who founded Orthopaedic Training Centre (OTC), Nsawam, Ghana, who “provided me with my medical mobility device. He was originally from the Netherlands and moved to Ghana on May 14th, 1961 and passed on January 15, 2014”. With deep breath and reminiscence, Jennifer chipped a brief, courteous and appreciative prayer for Dr. DeRuyter’s soul.

Here’s Jennifer’s narration of her ordeal, her motivation and her endeavours for a better society.

“Some of my friends often asked me questions such as: Will you die?-will you ever be able to walk like me? – can you dance? – why can’t you play with us? And the list goes on. Now, keep in mind I was just a kid, and I had my own questions along with these additional ones”

About me:

My name is Jennifer Mensah-Bonzie, the founder of Vigilo Mobility Foundation.

I was diagnosed with Poliomyelitis in Ghana West Africa at the age of 3 and for the next 3-6 years, I stayed at the Orthopedic training center in Nsawam Ghana. I thought for many years I could not contribute to society. But an advocate provided me with the medical mobility devise and the American culture changed my story.

Today, I have proven that I can succeed in various roles within society. I have pushed myself to take on new challenges and I am eager to give back to my community.

Polio challenge:

Polio left me paralyzed from my right hip downwards. Throughout my childhood, I spent most of my time observing the world from the sidelines while my friends enjoyed activities like swinging, and I know you can relate to this… Ten Ten, Boju Bojou, suwe, and many others.

Some of my friends often asked me questions such as: Will you die?-will you ever be able to walk like me? – can you dance? – why can’t you play with us? And the list goes on. Now, keep in mind I was just a kid, and I had my own questions along with these additional ones.

Growing up hasn’t been easy. The only thing that kept me going was my academic performance, being recognized as one of the top three students. I know I can’t run and jump but…It was a challenging upbringing and I know that Nigeria is not too different from Ghana, so many of you here can understand this. Let’s not forget about the concerned family members, the “doctors” without degrees, both traditional and modern, and the spiritual leaders. Life was tough right from the beginning.

My advocate, Dr. Tarcius DeRuyter, who founded OTC, provided me with my medical mobility device. He is originally from the Netherlands and moved to Ghana on May 14th, 1961 and passed on January 15 2014, his soul Rest In Perfect Peace.

Touched to touch others, positively

Long story short, as a way of giving back to the community, I established the Vigilo Mobility Foundation, which is registered in Ohio, United States. Our mission is to advocate, raise awareness, educate, provide resources and donate medical mobility devices to the physically challenged community in Ghana, just like I once was. We do have long term plans to make a footprint in Nigeria, Networking underway.

We mainly raise funds in the United States (US) from kind-hearted individuals. Locally, I deliver motivational speech to the Columbus Council of World Affairs – global scholars. I also speak at special events regarding “how to live with people with disabilities.” I make annual journey to Ghana with a purpose close to my heart; to support OTC, the hospital that played a vital role in my life.

My main focus is on empowering and inspiring the children and preparing them for a promising future. I strive to educate them about self-advocacy help them break free from the limitations of self-pity. Above all, I encourage them to recognize their intellectual potential and ensure they are duly recognized for it.

Our (Vigilo) impact and achievements

In the year 2021, we raised Ten thousand US dollars (USD10,000) for OTC, Ghana, which purchased 25 elbow crutches, five (5) wheelchairs, paid tuition and proceeds.

In the year 2022 we raised eighteen thousand US dollars (USD 18000) which purchased 30 elbow crutches, wheelchairs, tuition, proceeds and school supplies.

As part of 2023’s donation campaign, we have embarked on a 13-day journey to Ghana, departing Ohio on Friday, August 18th, we have four (4) significant initiatives in Ghana:

  • On August 22nd, 2023, a grand donation to the Orthopedic Training Center, the main hospital.
  • On August 23rd, in Kumasi, the Ashanti region, distributing new crutches to randomly-selected individuals with physical challenges on the streets.
  • On August 24th, extending mobility up north to Tamale, donating to physically challenged entrepreneurs.
  • August 28th to 30th, 2023, two (2) television interviews to raise awareness about our cause.

I will be departing on August 31st back to Ohio. Please follow us for updates when I return:

Our website is vigilomobility.org; IG: vigilo_mobility_foundation ….FB: Vigilo mobility foundation.

Appreciation

I thank Mr. Bonzie, my dear husband for bringing me here, and to all donors, ladies and gentlemen, I want to thank you all for what you do. Let us continue to break down barriers, remove stigmas, making the world a better place for all.

Always remember when everyone is included, everyone benefits.

Hello, I am Lilian Chudey Pride. Good to welcome you to my online world. I am a Writer, Teacher, Encourager, Author of Life Beyond Motherhood, Dignity of Womanhood and Publisher, iwriteafrica.com online Magazine. I love Africa so much and I derive joy in telling the world about her beauty and strength. I share the challenges of the childless African community, providing Support, Encouragement and Empowerment. While guiding the childless African woman to trust God, I help her to understand her peculiarity, grieve properly, heal and embrace purpose. See my book: Life Beyond Motherhood on Amazon. Welcome to Africa.
Mary Grant
Lilian Chudey Pride
Publisher
Lilian@iwriteafrica.com
www.iwriteafrica.com

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