Friday, February 6, 2009

The Great Pozo

Ghana's King Praises Emmanuel
Movie Awards

On May 5th, 1977, in Ghana, West Africa, Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah was both born - and abandoned.

Upon discovering Emmanuel had a severely deformed right leg, Dickson Kwadjo Ofosu, disgraced by his son's disability, walked out on his family. Emmanuel's mother, Comfort Yeboah, was advised to kill her son. But rather than surrender to society's perception that disabled children are the result of a family curse, or a punishment from a deity for a parent's past transgressions, Comfort neither killed Emmanuel, nor sent him to the streets to beg, as expected. Instead, she enrolled him in school and taught him to believe that he deservd the same treatment, apportunities and priveleges as able-bodied Ghanaians.

But in his early teens, Emmanuel was forced to leave school when his mother fell sick and could no longer work to support the family. Now an adolescent, dealing with his own affliction, Emmanuel faced the responsibility of paying his mothers hispital bills, while also caring for his younger sister and brother. Refusing to check his dignity at the street corner and beg for money, he learned a craft. With his crutches, a box to sit on and tools to shine shoes, he left home against the wishes of his mother to work on the streets of Accra, Ghana's capital. After a couple of months earning two dollars per day, he returned home with support funds and proof that he could manage on his own.

Before she passed away on Christmas Eve 1997, Comfort Yeboah taught her son that disability does not mean inability. In the years after her death, he felt an increasing desire, if not duty, to share that message. So, he made the fateful decision to honor his mother by reaching as many of Ghana's 20 million citizens as possible.

Emmanuel decided to ride a bicycle across the country. And though he'd mastered pedaling with only one leg, there was yet another obstacle: He didn't own a bike.

Through a missionary in Accra, Emmanuel learned about the California-based Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF). He sent a letter in which he explained his goals and asked if it was possible to receive a donated bike. Bob Babbitt, CAF Co-Founder, recalls, "What impressed me from the very beginning about Emmanuel is that what he said in his note wasn't, 'I'm a poor kid from Ghana and I've got a deformed leg, please send me money.' It was 'Send me a bicycle because I want to help other people. I want to prove a stereotype wrong.'"

Intrigued by Emmanuel's story, the CAF sent him a mountain bike and other equipment to help him make his journey -- and mission -- possible.

That's when everything began to change... Watch the video or visit the website to learn the rest of 'The Great Pozo's' story.

"I think every parent should go take their children to see this movie because it will change the way your children think about what they can do and can be."
- Oprah Winfrey

From Emmanuel's Gift
(Video Duration: 1:20:04)

*  Help CAF/Emmanuel provide education and equipment to other disabled Ghanaians. 

Notice: The CAF website is currently experiencing problems. Once available, a direct link to the donation page will be provided. In the meanwhile, you can donate by contacting CAF directly at:

Challenged Athletes Foundation
PO Box 910769
San Diego, CA 92191
501(c)3 Tax #33-0739596
Phone: 858.866.0959


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