Francis: Inspiring local man with disabilities

KOTA KINABALU: Francis Xavier Kimjin, 32, was born without legs but he is living proof that with an iron will, he not only can stand on his own metaphorical feet but also do well enough to help others.

The resident of Kg Dabak, Penampang, near here did not let his handicap to stop him from training as a chef, multimedia editor, a village tuck shop owner, a motivational speaker in sharing his personal life’s journey to inspire others, and more recently as an entrepreneur on handcrafting useful household applications with the humble PVC(polyvinyl chloride) pipes.

Met at the Bazaar Music #5 here last Saturday, Francis spoke candidly amidst numerous PVC creations about his life, his crafts and his big heart.

Born to a family of seven, Francis paid tribute to his loving mother who has constantly encouraged him to be independent by adapting to his handicap. It was her who took a photo of his first PVC creation, a laundry rack, before he posted it on his Facebook and unwittingly opened a new path to the creativity and business.

“I was in a supermarket looking for a laundry rack,” Francis recalled the beginning of his enterprise which is less than two months old. “The racks were expensive, so I decided perhaps I could make one myself.”

He did make one, and as they said the rest was history. He went on to produce TV racks, coffee tables, baby chairs, shoe racks and of course, laundry racks. His orders come from the Kota Kinabalu area, as well as Sandakan, Keningau, Kuala Penyu, Beaufort, and Ranau.

“Within an hour of posting my first laundry rack on Facebook, I received about 100 Likes. The photo of my laundry rack apparently went viral and before long orders started coming in, and I have been kept busy ever since,” said a beaming Francis, who has since enlisted the help of two nephews to fulfil the orders.

Francis said being born with his condition perhaps made it easier for him to live with it, “but it would be silly for me not to have wished that I had legs like normal people”.

“My mother made me realised long ago that I just have to work harder than others because I don’t have what others have. Now I don’t see it as a handicap, but as a blessing, because if I had legs I’d probably be dreaming of becoming a footballer and not the creative juices that enabled me to launch my new business,” said Francis.

His idea of sharing his blessings is to help especially the elderly, orphans and the disabled. He had identified a number of such needy neighbours whom he visited regularly with groceries and cash.


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