100 wheelchairs are now making their way to Haiti, just in time for Christmas, as part of Walkabout’s ongoing commitment to change more lives and help the country recover from the devastating earthquake back in 2010.
This directly follows on from another very successful distribution of 300 wheelchairs in November, bringing the total number of chairs sent to Haiti this year to 720. The Prime Minister, Laurent Lamothe, has been taking a really hands-on approach, helping our trained volunteers to build and individually fit the wheelchairs, and we witnessed first-hand evidence of yet more people for whom chairs have changed lives.
One person whose life was transformed by her custom-fitted Walkabout chair is 17-year-old Iclide Simeon, from Jacmel in southern Haiti, who lost the use of her legs after she was shot in September 2013. Iclide was beginning to develop a postural deformity in her spine owing to an ill-fitting wheelchair from which she repeatedly fell. Now, thanks to her new Rough Rider chair, Iclide can comfortably and independently receive the physical rehabilitation, psychosocial support and vocational skills training she needs to prepare her for reintegration into the community.
Another Rough Rider recipient for whom life is much less of a struggle is 31-year-old Zephyrin Chrism, who became paraplegic after falling from a tree in April of this year. Zephyrin was experiencing extreme discomfort from using a wheelchair that was too small from him, but is now very happy and his new chair he received in October is his pride and joy.
We would like to say a huge thank you to our local partner in Haiti, BSEIPH, and in particular to David Charles and Gerald Oriol for all their hard work. And we would also like to thank all of you who have supported our endeavour in Haiti through your generous donations. So far these have enabled us to distribute 2,300 of the 10,000 chairs we originally pledged. If you would like to change more lives like these by making a contribution to this programme, or to a project in any of the other countries to which we distribute, just follow the tab above to our “donate” page and give whatever you can.