50,000th Wheelchair

By Jim Joseph

In September 2021, Wheelchairs for Kids celebrated a magnificent milestone. The factory located in Wangara, Perth have completed their 50,000th wheelchair. All 50,000 have been made by volunteers and given to needy kids around the world.

Wheelchairs for Kids began making wheelchairs in 1998 and the first chair was made from old bike frames and a wooden base. It did the job, but it had many problems and so changes had to be made.

That first design was then replaced by a welded and bent up steel frame wheelchair that was produced in the hundreds, before being replaced by the third model which incorporated an aluminium frame. That design was again replaced by a fourth and further modified design which really increased the speed of manufacture.

Over 22 years and now 9 model design changes since inception, including working to World Health Organisation standards, we now have a design which is fully adjustable to allow for the child’s growth. It is made as a rough terrain wheelchair, it has solid puncture proof tyres and wheel covers and a single front wheel which makes it easier to travel over rough pot-holed jungle tracks. It also has seat belts, postural supports, a tray, knee separators, a tool kit, a knee rug and comes with a soft toy.

In 1998 we commenced production and today, some 23 years later, we have just completed our 50,000th wheelchair. The vast majority of which are sent overseas as a life-saving gift to a disabled child. Many of these kids have limb deformations, cerebral palsy, mutilated bodies due to land mines, spina bifida, muscular dystrophy and other impairments.

All of this manufacture at our Wangara factory in Perth is carried out by volunteers, our Board of Directors, CEO, Factory Manager and other factory workers – none of which are paid. Our volunteers now total some 200 people at the factory working various shifts, plus hundreds of ladies from nursing homes and church groups sewing, making blankets, rugs and soft toys.

50,000 wheelchairs is truly a milestone and thanks must go to all of our wonderful volunteers.

Give the transformative gift of mobility