Ben from Vanuatu
Ben is a cute, healthy, intelligent and rather cheeky six year old who cannot walk by himself or speak because he has had Cerebral Palsy since birth. He lives in a small village in the jungle on a remote island of Vanuatu with his auntie and uncle.
Ben had to be carried everywhere and was getting heavier. He often had to be left alone at home when the family worked in their vegetable garden up the mountain. I had a rough terrain wheelchair made by “Wheelchairs for Kids” with me on our ship, which our charity “Joint Therapy Outreach” had brought from Australia. The Occupational Therapist, Robyn, and I measured Ben and assembled the Mecano style wheelchair specifically to fit him. Two of the ship’s engineers couldn’t resist and took over our spanners. As we “drove” him home through the jungle, accompanied by some of the Marine Reach team, he smiled proudly and waved happily to his friends in the village like a returning Prince in his royal carriage.
“Buildaid”, built a ramp and railings along his verandah to make his house safe and accessible for the wheelchair. Ben now walks sideways along the verandah by holding onto the railings.Thank you to Marine Reach, Joint Therapy Outreach, Wheelchairs for Kids and Buildaid, who together served and empowered this little boy and his family