Mohammed likes to ride his bike. He likes to pedal across a wooden, covered bridge and past the barn where a burro grunts a greeting. Past the workshop, where he crafts metal art pieces. Past the fire pit where he and his neighbors sing and listen to visiting musicians.
Momo—as he’s called—has seen a lot of changes in his life lately. He’s now in his late teens and recently finished school. His parents no longer have the income or nursing skills to tend to his needs. His physical disabilities, plus Down syndrome, require 24-hour, daily attention.
So, Momo moved to Dorfgemeinschaft, a residential facility in Breitenfurt, Austria, that provides therapy and socialization for persons with disabilities. Government funding covers for much of his care, but not all.
“We had to adapt his table in the workshop to his requirements,” says Michael Mullan, the facility’s chairman. “He needs special therapies if he is to keep his mobility. And there is a need for a nurse. So all these require more money than what is paid by the state for his care.”
Thus, Momo was a perfect candidate to receive assistance from the Kiwanis Club of Vienna-Europe 1. The club donates annually to Dorfgemeinschaft for Momo’s “extra” expenses, including costs of adapting a tricycle for him.
“We have these paths around here that are ideal for riding his bike,” Mullan says. “His feet have to be clipped on to the pedals, and he has to be secured with the backrest. And someone has to walk beside him.
“He loves to ride his bike.”
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