My name is Tiwonge Praise Kaponda. I am 23 years of age. I was born on 12th April 1990 at Karonga District Hospital in the Northern part of Malawi. I am single but not searching. I did my primary education at Bwibe Primary. I did my secondary education at Karonga Girls Secondary School from 2004 to 2007. In 2009 I was offered a scholarship by 500 miles to study orthopaedic technology. In Tanzania I did my diploma in orthopaedic technology from 2009 to 2012. I am now working with 500 miles clinic at Mzuzu Central Hospital as an orthopaedic technologist (P&O).
My interest in the field began in 2009 when I was attached to 500 miles clinic at KCH Lilongwe. As I was working I came across a client who had a post hemi-pelvectomy amputation. At that time there were only two male clinicians (P&O) at the centre. She was seen by one of the men. It was very touching to see. I said to myself that if I had been a qualified P&O I could have seen her. I could see the client was not comfortable to be seen by a male but she had no option. Because there were no female P&O’s that gave me courage and made me to go and study P&O. I thank 500 miles who made my dream come true as am now qualified P&O. Currently I am one of only two female P&O’s in the country but two more female P&O’s will join us in September from school.
What I like most at work is to see the disabled clients getting helped at 500 miles clinic and clients functioning independently. It becomes so inspiring and I feel very good that my dreams are becoming true.
What I dislike most is to hear and see the society undermining people with disabilities seeing them as nobody in the society. I want to challenge the society. After studying the course of Prosthetics and Orthotics I found there is hope for such people and they can do great things in society, as I have seen with my own eyes people using prosthetics or orthotics doing great things in society.
My dreams and my expectations are to one day wake up and see and hear that the mind of people in society towards disabled people has changed. I want to see people with disabilities treated and taken as anybody else in society and I want to see that people with disabilities don’t feel inferior about themselves.
With regard to my studies, the level I am at today is just the foundation of my career. I always aim and dream higher. I want to go further with my studies. I always aim to have more knowledge on how I can help people with disabilities. I want to see myself one day in the highest position in the Ministry for People with Disabilities so that my goals should be accomplished to see disabled people taken as anyone else in the society.
During my free time I like travelling and seeing different places. When I am home I like cooking, chatting with friends and on the weekend (Sunday) I like going to church.