Ivorian blogger Rita Dro was impressed when she met Zadi, a young man living with a disability in Abidjan, the commercial capital of Ivory Coast. Zadi works hard to keep a job collecting household waste in his neighbourhood. In an effort to support his industriousness, Dro decided to launch an online campaign to raise money to buy him a vehicle to improve his mobility.

Rita Dro runs a blog called Droville, where she publishes profiles about the unsung people in Ivorian society. One person she profiled was Zadi, who has had partial paralysis since birth. In early December, she launched a campaign to buy Zadi a three-wheeled motorcycle under the hashtag #UnTricyclePourZadi (a tricycle for Zadi).

 

"He collects rubbish 3 times a day... I admire his courage”

 
We live in the same neighbourhood, Akouédo, and for the past five years I’ve seen him going around with his cart to collect household waste. Garbage trucks can’t fit into the narrow streets of certain neighbourhoods, so we count on people like Zadi to collect garbage and bring it to dumpsters. He earns 1,000 francs CFA for each house that he visits (around €1.50).

Video sent by Rita Dro.

Zadi has had a disability since birth. He never went to school and struggled to find a job. Now he is his own boss. Three times a day he goes out to collect rubbish, a task that he is able to do at his own pace. I admire his courage.

 
Rita Dro poses with Zadi in Akouédo.

Zadi doesn’t have any equipment. He picks up rubbish with his bare hands. The cart that he uses is falling apart. Even on its better days, his cart is really not suitable for someone with a disability. He has to hold it with one hand and carry the rubbish awkwardly. So I thought to myself, why not start a campaign to raise the money to buy him a three-wheeled motorcycle with a trailer?
 
Dro shared this image on Facebook as part of her campaign to help Zadi.

This type of motorcycle with a trailer costs about 1 million CFA francs (equivalent to €1,500). We had lots of people contact us and promise us money but we didn't hear from them again.


However, the campaign has borne fruit. Dro raised more than 200,000 CFA francs from contributions. The president of the National Assembly, Guillaume Soro, contributed the rest.

It’s one of my biggest victories. It’s gratifying to help someone who deserves it. It is proof that social media can have an impact.

Zadi is just one example of many young people in the Ivory Coast living with a disability. Most weren’t able to go to school and have to struggle to do something with their lives. I think that the media doesn’t represent the value these people could contribute to our society. Moreover, the decision-makers in our country are more interested in people with money than people who create riches through their courage.

 

 
Officially, there are close to 450,000 people with disabilities in the Ivory Coast. According to the head of the Direction for the Promotion of People with Disabilities, between 60 and 65% of people with disabilities are unemployed. In 2015, the country's labour laws were revised to include quotas for hiring people with disabilities in the private sector, but the president's office has not yet issued a decree enacting the measure.

Would you like to reach out to our Observer to help Zadi? Send us an email at obsengages@france24.com or contact Rita Dro directly at the numbers listed on the campaign material.