I was shown around their workshop yesterday with a group of friends and we are all in awe of what they do. Wheelchairs For Kids was started twenty years ago by the Rotary Club of Scarborough and is supported by The Christian Brothers. This charity makes wheelchairs specifically for children to World Health Organisation standards and sends them world wide to impoverished countries. These wheelchairs are adjustable and can be used for children aged up to fifteen. There are two other charities - one in Canada and another in the USA - which make wheelchairs for adults but this is the only one making wheelchairs for children.
The workshops in suburban Wangara are staffed entirely by volunteers, both men and women, many of whom are retired trades people. A few components are brought in - such as the frame and wheels - but the bulk of them are made on site while others need to be modified or altered to fit the specific requirements of children. The volunteers include two occupational therapists and a physiotherapist and a large number of people who make knitted toys and crochet the rugs which are included with each boxed wheelchair. Each chair is put together, inspected and checked before it is dismantled and packed up for shipment.
In the twenty years since it started Wheelchairs For Kids has put together and sent out 40,000 wheelchairs and they have orders on their books to keep the workshop working at full capacity until April 2019. What an incredible achievement. There is a desperate need for wheelchairs for children worldwide and what these volunteers are doing is nothing short of inspiring.
If you are interested in finding out more or donating to Wheelchairs For Kids you can find out more about it here. They also have a Facebook page.