In Ghana, Africa, babies who are born with disabilities are usually poisoned or abandoned by their parents to die alone. There are roughly two million disabled people in the country which is about ten percent of the total population. Since these unfortunate individuals are believed to live under a curse, they are not allowed to work. All that is left for them is a life of begging on the streets. But now, thanks to one man, all that is slowly beginning to change.
Filmmakers Lisa Lax and Nancy Stern have made an inspiring documentary about Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah, a charismatic and determined young man who was born with a malformed right leg but refused to allow this disability to slow him down or ruin his life.
Despite the fact that her husband left once Emmanuel was born, his mother decided that she would send him to school. Even though he faced prejudice and ridicule, this young boy even managed to become an athlete. In order to earn the money needed to take care of his mother, Emmanuel dropped out of school and left his small farming village for the large city of Accra. There he shined shoes for two dollars a day and sent the money home.
After the death of his mother who believed so strongly in him, Emmanuel decided to try to do something to change the attitudes of his countrymen toward disabled people. He applied to the Challenged Athletes Foundation in San Diego, California and received a mountain bike which he then road with his one leg on a journey across Ghana to raise people's consciousness about those born with physical deformities.
Emmanuel eventually travels to America , participates in some athletic competitions, and is eventually fitted with a prosthetic leg. At fundraising triathlons, he meets other disabled individuals who share his view that sports provides a great arena for testing oneself and accomplishing great things. Returning home to Ghana, Emmanuel receives a hero's welcome and then expands his work for the disabled by getting wheelchairs for many people, convincing an African king to host a party for him and his friends (a big step in influencing politicians to take another look at the shameful discrimination against the handicapped), and starting a program that offers scholarships to disabled children.
From start to finish, this documentary shows how one person driven by a passion can make a difference in the lives of others. Oprah Winfrey narrates Emmanuel's Gift.