Martha Iiyambo, a 50-year-old resident of Otjiwarongo suffers from Rheumatic Arthritis (RA), an autoimmune and inflammatory disease that severely limits her ability to lead a normal life. Iiyambo, who has been suffering from arthritis since the 1990s, said her conditions worsened to RA in 2017 thus confining her to a wheelchair.
She recalls how just one day she woke up unable to move. “Although I have already been suffering from arthritis for so many years, my life changed overnight when I stopped working. It was agonising to move from my toes to the neck, every joint of my body was in terrible pain and swollen,” she said. In 2018, Iiyambo couldn’t continue with her duties as a cleaner in the ministry of home affairs, where she has been working for 24 years, because of her condition.
With the social grant she gets from the government, Iiyambo uses it to take care of her five children and three grandchildren and other expenses. In an interview with New Era, Iiyambo expressed her exasperation with the hardship of supporting and taking care of eight children while living with a disability and also how her life changed since she became wheelchair-bound. “Life has become difficult since I can’t work for myself anymore and with the social grant I get, I am unable to sustain my children. My condition does not allow me to get a job again but I am planning to even start a tuckshop at home if I get assistance from the public,” she said.
She noted that she gets a disability grant of N$1 300 and a pension of N$2 700 from the Government Institutions Pension Fund (GIPF). Iiyambo also said her expenses amount to over N$5 000 per month, excluding her son’s education at the Namibian Institute of Mining and Technology (NIMT). “Also the commode wheelchair I was given is in a severely dilapidated state, and I cannot afford another one,” she said.
Iiyambo is appealing to good Samaritans for assistance that would enable her to pay for the custom-built bed and wheelchair that will enable her to regain some of her mobility. “The bed cost N$42 250.99 while the CE power chair is N$38 800. I am pleading to the public to assist me with the little that they have so I can buy these items,” she said. Iiyambo can be contacted on 081 2485475