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22 April 2010

Wheels to enrich lives among Africa’s disabled

Wheels to enrich lives among Africa’s disabled

Over the last twelve years a UK-based ministry has sent more than 6,000 refurbished British wheelchairs to eight countries overseas, mainly in Africa.

Wheels for the Worldheels for the World ("Wheels") is one of the ministries of Evangelical Alliance member Through the Roof which works both in the UK and overseas with people with disabilities.    

The wheelchairs are second-hand chairs collected in the UK and refurbished in the prison workshop at Parkhurst Prison on the Isle of Wight.

Recently,Wheels had a small team of volunteers working in Western Kenya with IcFEM (Inter-Christian Fellowships' Evangelistic Mission), a local Christian mission.

Over the course of 10 days, the team of physiotherapists and occupational therapists, together with technicians, distributed a container-load of more than 150 wheelchairs and dozens of crutches to people who would not otherwise have a chance of obtaining them, giving them a measure of mobility and independence.  

After the distribution the patients are assessed by therapists while those who have already received a chair, return home - sometimes from as far away as 200kms - with the chairs stacked precariously on the roof of the minibus which brought the patients to the distribution centre. Wheels for the World

Ruth Davey, one of the physiotherapists who went to Kenya said: "It's exciting to see how the gift of a wheelchair can give independence, dignity and hope to some who are very significantly disabled.  Men and women are better able to work and have greater independence in their homes, while children are enabled to go to school."  

Everyone given a mobility aid was also offered a Bible in Swahili - provided by Evangelical Alliance member, The Bible Society.