Keep Rolling – Wheelchairkids on skates

Keep moving and leave your comfort zone, that is exactly the motto of our Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus week in Haydom this May.

We left our personal comfort zone and put ourselves and our wheelchair kids on downhill-wheeles. Together with the two skater professionals Daniel and Gilliard from Smallsteps Skatepark UsaRiver, Tansania, we organized the very first wheelchair skating course in Haydom.

The ramps and obstacles previously made in the village after expert advice from German wheelchair skating professional David Lebuser and sponsored by Haydom-Friends e.V. became the highlight of the week. The kids were provided with protective gear by Daniel and Gilliard from the Smallsteps Skatepark and a short time later they were skating over inclined ramps and curved wooden planes either sitting in their wheelchairs or beeing on the skateboards.

For most of the children this feeling of speed was a completely new experience and was greeted with great laughter and applause. The children playfully learned to control their wheelchairs and practiced their sense of balance while standing or sitting on the board. Not only the children had a lot of fun but also some of the parents turned out to be real ramp talents. The goal is to playfully take away fears and challenge the kids to leave their own comfort zone.

With the wonderful team of the smallsteps-skatepark in cooperation with Haydom-Friends more skatesessions will take place in Haydom in the future. The long term goal is to build an inclusive skatepark in Haydom, where the village kids as well as the wheelchair kids can let off steam, have fun together and show what they are capable of doing.

Together we can go the distance

The sun is rising abough the Haydom Airstrip as the sports pistol is giving the kickoff starting signal for about 200 runners to start moving. The sky is burning in red colours, the soil underneath our feet is red and dusty. 200 participants from Haydom and beyond are running for a good cause. 21 km ahead of me and the newest spotify GOOD MOOD playlist in my ears I am managing my first kilometers. It felt like I was the only one running as the others of my group quickly moved out of my sight. But I kept going, passing sunflower fields, little mud houses and farms, akazia trees, cows and goats. Sometimes the road was flat and paved, sometimes it was uneven and I had to jump across deep holes in the ground. My lungs were burning on every little hill I had to climb up, I could feel the altitude but tried to keep breathing deep and slow, focussing my thoughts on the goal not to stop running.

Along the way on each and every intersection were people standing clapping hands and cheering, some of them were waving flags to indicate which direction to continue. On the difficult parts I remember some were even running alongside with me to keep me going. Moments of joy and pure happyness probably caused by a rush of endorphines running through my entire body alternated with moments of deep exhaustion in which I was really fighting hard wanting to just stop and sit down.

The moment I entered the airstrip again I had only one thought left, to reach the finish line. With my very last power and accompanied by a lot of applause and cheering people shouting my name I crossed the finish line after 2 hours and 11 minutes. I did it!! And not enough, even as fourth best in my category. A lot of hands pat me on my shoulder and congratulated. I felt more than happy I was able to represent our Haydom team that way. I am more than thankful for all of your support and good wishes that have carried me across that finish line. When I received my medal and even a price I could not hold back some tears of joy.

Running that distance was reminding me on the fight that our kids with Spina Bifida have to go through every single day and I am so proud on our little warriors and happy I could do that for them. Mr Giniki, Tansanian most famous long distance and Marathon athlete, also was present shaking hands with me as a symbol of his now further on support and cooperation for our children and parents in Haydom. I had to promise I keep on training and running for a good cause. I am truly willing to do. And who knows maybe I will soon even be running the next level. Thanks to each and everyone of you who donated for our children with Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus in Haydom. The parents and kids after a successful week of education and recreation left with my personal promise that we will continue to keep walking that distance all together and we will see back in October this year.

Wheelchair-Skating at Haydom Hospital

Finally back in Tansania, meeting up with those amazing guys from smallsteps skatepark UsaRiver. They really make a Change in the life of those kids here skating, giving them a home where they are loved and where they can unfold their Talents and spirits. So Glad and proud to be taking them to Haydom to meet our Wheelchair kids. Keep following us for more skating vibes coming up.

And obviously I was not able to resist to bring my own Surfskate to keep trying it in their skatepark. First Skatingpark Drop in ever of my life – and what to say after having defeated my brain, I have had the afternoon of a lifetime skating with those wonderful talented kids here in UsaRiver.

At the same time in Haydom our new obstacles for the short planned skating lesson are about to get finished. Now we need some good weather on Tuesday and some guardian angels to keep us all safe 🙂 🙂 🙂

28.05. Donate to make Dr Theresa sweat on her first African Halfmarathon

Who wants to see me sweat and fighting for a good cause?

After now almost 12 years of coming to Tansania I will finally be taking my first Halfmarathon challenge here in Africa.

Haydom is a small village in one of the most remote areas in Tasania. Medical Treatment here is not easily acessible for everybody as most of the patients dont have insurance.

Haydom Hospital was build in the late sixties by the Norwegian Missionaries and has become a 400 bed hospital now, providing medical services for everybody in need despite their financial situation. Therefore the hospital is providing help for coverage of hospital bills for the most poorest patients.

A large number of children are born here with birth defects and find help through the local program, initated by Haydom-Friends e.V. and its partners. Children find life safing surgeries as well as long term treatment and follow up.

You can support this wonderful work and help to cover the hospital costs of some of the kids beeing treated there by helping me run as many kilometers as I can.

I am promising I will run as far as I can for each donation you will be making. So dont be picky, let me really sweat, make my legs burn and donate what you can so that children at Haydom Hospital can continue to be helped.

Betterplace Donation Link

Haydom-Friends for Ukraine – Emergency Aid

Peace grows out of human action. This requires mutual respect and solidarity towards those who need our help. What is happening in Ukraine right now is a terrible example of contempt for humanity. A slap in the face of our grandfathers and grandmothers, great-grandparents and their ancestors, who fought and struggled for such a long time for a safe environment and the peace in which we are allowed to grow up so well protected.

You would think after a world wide pandemic that we faced hand in hand, nation by nation together, we would have learned to value values such as health, family, freedom and peace as our most important asset. Living in freedom and peace is not a birth privilege. We all have a human responsibility towards those who were innocently deprived of it and who were never able to grow up in this security.


In an exemplary action of solidarity of the Children’s UKE, employees collect for families and their children fleeing from Ukraine. A medically accompanied transport brings things for the daily needs, hygiene articles, baby food, clothing and medical supplies to the Polish-Ukrainian border in order to distribute them to the families there and to provide medical care for the people there. Haydom-Friends e.V. participates here with an aid delivery of medicines, which are especially tailored to the needs of children and infants, fever thermometers, hot water bottles, and a large assortment of dressing materials, disinfection, wound sprays, wound ointments, plasters and compresses for the immediate care of fresh or chronic wounds on site. Several transports are planned. You are welcome to support us for further purchases of this kind with a donation under the additional subject: Ukraine. “We have very little time! We should act now! ” Albert Einstein

A new road into a new life for Happyness

For the first time Happyness is smiling at us at eye level. So far, she has only spent her life from the ground. She has always had to look far up at the people around her. Everyday life has always taken place above her head. Carried by her mother, the young girl could never move independently. Yet she bears a beautiful name that could not better describe her character.

Happyness, translated as the cheerful one, has never lost her radiant smile despite all these circumstances. The girl was born with a spinal cord defect, spina bifida. She was never able to use her legs. The necessary physiotherapy was missing, so that her hip and also her legs as well as her spine stiffened at an early age.

The girl was never able to sit alone or to bend her hips, her legs are fixed in an unnatural cross posture and cannot be stretched. The girl can only lie flat on her stomach. During the day, the now 12 year old is carried around by her mother in a special sling.
And most of the day she lies in a corner on the floor of the domestic hut.

Surgical help comes too late for the little girl, as surgery at this advanced stage would be too risky for her.

Happyness has never been to school, but lying on her stomach she paints beautiful pictures of a world where she could play with other girls, go to school or learn a trade. For several years now, Happyness has been coming regularly to Haydom with her mother for follow-up care. Here the team takes care of her wounds and also her bladder function.

For a long time, our hands were tied and we lacked ideas on how to make her daily life easier and give her access to the world and education. A wheelchair seemed like a perfect solution, however Happyness cannot sit or be placed in a seated position without suffering severe pain.

Working with CCBRT, a local Tanzanian rehabilitation association, we put our heads together and designed a custom reclining wheelchair for Happyness to lie prone on. Haydom-Friends e.V. financed the production and purchase of the special wheelchair made of locally manufactured materials. The first test drive with her new wheelchair moved all of us, who had been desperately searching for a solution for this girl for so long, to tears. Happyness took the first “self-determined meters” into her new life. Again accompanied by a brave big smile on her face. We all hope now that this new freedom will also give her the opportunity to attend school.

Happyness story shows how important is especially your help, without which we could never have realized this. It shows that limits and obstacles should always motivate us to look for solutions instead of resigning ourselves to the seemingly impossible.

Happyness needs further financial support for school supplies and annual school fees. If you would like to help or contribute, please feel free to do so through the association’s donation account, subject: Happyness.

Thank you very much.

Theresia our little Spina Bifida Warrior

Article Paraplegiker

Looking beyond the horizon. For children with spinal cord defects in countries like Tanzania, continence is often a matter of life and death. They do not have access to a wide range of products from various medical supply stores. Often a catheter has to be enough for 4 weeks. Without it, they suffer severe urinary tract infections and kidney damage. In addition, being dry is an important requirement for going to school, for example. Often the kids do not have a wheelchair to get around on their own.

The magazine Paraplegiker has published a nice portrait article about one of our Spina Kids from Haydom, which shows how the typical daily routine of a child with paraplegia looks like in resource-poor countries like Tanzania, and with which difficulties the little ones have to fight every day, but also with which simple means it is often possible and necessary to improvise. Haydom-Friends is very proud of our little Theresia from Haydom, who even made it to the cover of the magazine with her story. Hongera Sana little warrior.


Babys first birthday

Baby’s first birthday is always a special event.

The first birthday of one’s own baby is an important milestone for many families in Germany. In this country, parents and grandparents really turn up the heat when it comes to decorating, baking and crafting gifts. But what does a baby’s first birthday look like in Africa?

A German mother tells how she prepared this special celebration for her son with spina bifida on his first birthday and reflects on their first year together. On the other side of the globe, a father from East Africa tells his story of celebrating his son as special every year …

Baby’s first birthday – Reports from two different worlds

A new wheelchair for Patricia

Maybe you remember that little girl´s smile that we had been sharing with you a couple month ago. She is living with her mother in a small remote village on the other side of Lake Victoria, more than a thousand kilometers away from the next bigger city Arusha and far away from medical services and supply.
Because of a delayed birth and lack of oxygen she is paraplegic and cannot walk. Barely able to move on her own she is not able to visit any school or getting physiotherapy. Most of the time of day she gets carried around by her mother, or is left sitting on the ground in the garden. The family is too poor to afford a proper wheelchair.

With the incredible generous help of Marcela Maranon (#thejourneyofabravewoman) and SitnSkate Hamburg we finally have managed to have mother and daughter travel to Moshi to get measurments taken for a special individual personalized children´s wheelchair. It was their very first big journey leaving their little village. Shedrack a physiotherapist from Moshi helped taking measurments and getting both mother and child accomodated while waiting for their new wheelchair to be made. Only 3 days after arrival the new and local made wheelchair was finished and little Patricia started to explore her new environment enjoying her new independency and freedom. The wheelchair is especially designed to resist the rough territorial surrounding of Patricias home. With the new wheelchair she will be able to move around on her own and even visit a special school nearby. Haydom-Friends e.V. will be updating you about her further progress.

If you want to continue supporting that little girls school education or helping her to get a medical health insurance card for this year you can support her with your donation on , just type “Patricia” and leave your contacts to receive updates and more information as well as a donation receipt. Thanks a lot for your help and support. Patricia is giving back a big smile in return!

My vision for Tanzania- outlook and reality.

The last year in lockdown not only affected all of us but also caused unforeseeable collateral damage in resource-poor countries. The often strongly tourism-oriented economies of many countries, especially in East Africa, lost from one moment to the next their most important and constant financial backer, the “white man” and safari tourists. Since then, many families live in existential threat, without income, without money for food and children. Just last year, the country had hopefully elected its old “new” president, bringing with it new hope and confidence, and already the year strikes again. With the sudden death of Tanzania’s president, the country is once again shaken.

The WHO sounds the alarm about the rising number of infections in the country. Into this uncertainty, a new head of state is appointed. Tanzania’s first female president, Samia Suluhu Hassan. The 61-year-old former aid worker, a native of Zanzibar, is stepping into big male shoes. An entire country looks up to her with hope. Perhaps in her straight female role she holds new hope for important improvements in the social and medical sector, in the health care of a large part of the often poorer and destitute population and their children.

Haydom-Friends e.V. wishes the new female leadership much strength, endurance and inspiration for her new office. May she continue to work for even better health care for children with special needs and health disadvantages and the support of their families in Tanzania.