Greetings and happy Friday!
In order for Free Wheelchair Mission to expand our provision of mobility solutions and strengthen our distribution partner network, we look for ways to improve our wheelchairs for future recipients and to provide our distribution partners the best product and training we can for those they serve. One way to determine if our wheelchairs and systems are exceptional is to be on the ground conducting tests, talking with recipients and gaining feedback from our partners. Recently we sent a representative and longtime friend and supporter of FWM, Bob, to Kenya to participate in a study being conducted at a school for children living with disabilities in Kenya. Here, Bob shares part of his journey:
Considering the importance and impact the work Free Wheelchair Mission does is sobering. Over the years, over 781,000 lives have been enhanced by providing people with a healthier, more productive, and more satisfying place in society. Millions of dollars have been generously contributed to bless many with the gift of mobility.
In Kenya I visited Bethany Kids, a residential facility serving about 350 children who have varying degrees of disabilities. Some of the children do well with walkers, but most require wheelchairs. The purpose of the study was to examine the performance of wheelchairs in a relatively difficult environment. We set up obstacle courses for the children to maneuver: over potholes, through close-fitting furniture, getting around simple household objects like tables and chairs, etc. The kids were amazingly enthusiastic when asked to be involved with tests aimed to answer questions like how the chair holds up on rutted, dirt paths, if the chair is easy to use and what features of the wheelchair the users particularly like. Spending time with the children was a great blessing. Seeing their thankful hearts, eagerness to help, and sweet spirits, was a wonderful extra to the serious work at hand.
By being on-site for the research, I was was able to gather critical information for FWM which will be helpful in the development and improvement of chairs. Based on the findings, cushions and footrests are already being looked at for enhanced performance.
It is always our goal to be on the leading edge of providing the most practical solutions to those challenged with issues of mobility in the most cost efficient way. Thanks to YOU, our supporters, tens of thousands of lives are changed every year!