On April 12th 2016, Walkabout foundation travelled to Panama for the first time to distribute a container of 250 RoughRiders. Despite the country’s economic growth over recent years, about 25% of Panama’s population lives below the poverty line, and almost 10% suffer from some kind of physical disability.
Our distribution coincided with the 30th anniversary of the Special Olympics in Panama, and we were honoured to be asked to deliver our first chairs in the new sports centre for the disabled in the area of San Miguelito. We were joined by President Juan Carlos Varela and Mr Tim Shriver, Chairman of the Special Olympics Committee and son of its founder, Eunice Kennedy.
Witnessing the enthusiasm, courage and dedication of over 200 intellectually disabled children and young adults was a truly humbling experience. We then gave over 40 children their first proper wheelchair from a neighbouring special needs school. Until now, these children had either been sharing one of the few chairs available at their school, or did not have access to one at all.
We would like to thank the Secretaria Nacional de Discapacidad for all their work in partnering with us on this distribution. We are also especially grateful to the newly built windmill park Laudato Si, who financed 50% of this container, hoping to set an example for other corporations to follow. Thank you lnterEnergy and Rolando Gonzalez-Bunster!
And of course, these trips would not be possible without the continued support of you, our donors; and there is still a huge amount of work to be done!