Our family is very integrated, MBemba Kouyate is from Guinea, West Africa and Gail Kouyate is from Long Island, New York. When I (Gail) grew up, my desire was to help people. My grandmother (Marcelle Mayer in wheelchair below, Katherine next to her, was her live-in nurse; who could cook and bake awesome meals! ) had polio when she was 12 years old and became handicapped. When I visited her growing up, I learned how to push her wheelchair at a very young age up and down the block in Manhattan. When she drove her car, she would have the gas and the brakes on the steering wheel since she was not able to use her legs. But, she managed to raise 3 children, one of which was my father (Ben Mayer). During my high school days at Searingtown, LI, NY, I would work at Abilities, helping amputees get wheeled around to their classes.
When I was 16, I worked with a Cerebral Palsy child (Guinevere) and she couldn’t walk or talk. I also worked with 10 children, in a nursery, Montessori style environment. So, I had two children hold parallel bars on the beach while she walked through the bars on the sand, which caused her legs to get stronger in order to wear braces and actually walk. Her speech was more difficult to help but with professional sessions, she became more communicative. I always wanted to help people who were disabled because they have a right to be as mobile as I am. Mobility should be free.
My husband grew up in Guinea, West Africa where many people have disabilities. He would always help them by giving them a ride or get crutches or walkers, wheelchairs for them to use. Two years ago, he spent a few months in Guinea helping people in the Donka Diabetic Hospital and found that there was absolutely no supplies for anyone there. It was very sparse with everything. So, we decided to gather up as much durable medical supplies, by buying them from thrift stores, or getting donations through friends. This is how Mobility & Health started. Our concern is to give the hospitals the supplies they need from the used equipment that we don’t use anymore, and to stop throwing mobility devices into landfills and reuse it by giving it to people overseas so they can have a chance to live fuller lives.
The Vision that we both have is to help the Albinos by building safe haven villages for them. By building sustainable self-contained communities with schools, apartments, markets, sports arenas, entertainment and places of worship, we will create safe havens to protect Albinos from the horrific mutilation, discrimination, torture and abuse that is endemic to their society.