Why Wheelchairs

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The need for wheelchairs worldwide is staggering

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that at least 10 million children worldwide are in dire need of a wheelchair but cannot afford one. Some disability experts claim the number could be as high as 6% of the population of developing countries. The number in Angola is 20% of the population of 12 million people. Other “landmine” countries such as Afghanistan, Vietnam, Cambodia, Bosnia, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Sierra Leone and Mozambique have extremely high physical disability rates.

In developing countries where public health care and other social services are under-developed, families often have to take on full time care of children with disabilities. Their hardship is compounded because the carer is unable to join the workforce and contribute to household income. What’s more, in many cases a child intellectually capable of attending mainstream school is denied the opportunity because of the absence of a wheelchair.

  • 80% of people living with a disability live in developing countries
  • 90% of children living with a disability in developing countries are not in school
  • Disability and poverty are linked. It is estimated that 20% of the world’s poorest people have some kind of disability.
  • Disabled people with no mobility are more vulnerable to disease and malnutrition

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“Disability is now understood to be a human rights issue. People are disabled by society, not just by their bodies. These barriers can be overcome, if governments, nongovernmental organisations, professionals and people with disabilities and their families work together.”

– World Health Organization

Giving vulnerable children a new lease on life

Children living with a disability are already one of the most marginalised groups in the world, and without proper medical care and equipment, they face an even greater burden. Numerous studies have shown the positive, sustained impact of wheelchair delivery to those in need, including:

  • Increased life expectancy
  • Easier access to healthcare, food and water
  • Broadened employment opportunities
  • Ability for parent to join workforce and contribute to household and village income
  • Improved social integration and life satisfaction
  • Improves respiration and digestion, and slows the progression of deformities

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