I have recently been reading about this awesome Australian charity, Wheelchairs For Kids, which makes and donates the chairs to disabled children all over the world who need them, usually in third-world and developing countries. This is an organisation attached to the Rotary Club of Australia, and it is staffed by volunteers who are retired from their regular jobs. These volunteer workers manufacture the chairs and then arrange to donate them to children in need worldwide. As you can imagine, they have a very long waiting list, which is constantly being added to, as sadly there are so many children in war-torn countries who are desperate for them.
Their factory was founded around 14 years ago, funded by the Rotary Club of Australia and the generosity of donors. It is staffed by 112 volunteers, who are retired from their paid jobs, and have been trained to build child-sized wheelchairs from scratch. They work a rotating shift pattern between 9-1pm, Monday to Friday each week. They build on average around 330 chairs each month, and so far have donated 25 000 of them to 61 different countries. Many of these chairs have been sent to Iraq, because there are now a lot of disabled children there, amputees as a result of injuries sustained in the armed conflict. Apparently around 20% of the total amputees in this country are children. This charity works in tandem with the organisation Human Rights Alliance, to send wheelchairs to Iraq and other countries, where the families cannot afford to pay for these disabled mobility aids.
Gerry Georgatos, from the Human Rights Alliance, has spent the last 7 years tirelessly fund-raising to get these pre-assembled 330 wheelchairs sent out to Iraq. He has now also, in the last few months, been able to raise funds to also have the chairs sent to Iran, Pakistan, Lebanon and Palestine. With help from others, he is working hard to have a wheelchair assembly plant set up in Iraq itself, at the heart of one of the most deprived areas.
For every $125 that the charity raises, it can supply and send a wheelchair to a child in need of it. Here is the link to the charity website, if anyone wishes to make a donation:
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Picture courtesy of www.thestringer.com.au