MORE than 500 disabled people in Western Highlands and Enga provinces will receive new wheelchairs from a community-based organisation.
Mt Hagen-based Foundation for Rural Development (FORD) Inc has joined hands with American-based Free Wheelchair International to distribute 550 wheelchairs throughout the two provinces.
FORD Inc executive director, Andreas Pu, said the foundation had embarked on this partnership to help what he called “the silent disabled minority” under its relief and rehabilitation programme.
He said the idea was initiated when he witnessed how a disabled mother from Kurumul in Western Highlands was assisted by her husband and daughter to do almost everything.
Mr Pu claimed she was severely paralysed and her body movement was restricted.
He said it was this experience that had driven FORD to seek international partnership because he believed that there were many others like her who were suffering and needed help.
Mr Pu said FORD had a mission to “empower people so that they could develop as a whole person” while Free Wheelchair Internationals motto was “transforming lives through the gift of mobility”.
Therefore, he said the two organisations shared visions of bridging the gap for disabled people to have access and enjoy basic mobility rights.
Mr Pu said this was the basis for supplying the wheelchairs in the two provinces.
He confirmed that the wheelchairs would arrive in the country by the end of this year and FORD was currently requesting donations from businesses and individuals to help them transport the wheelchairs from Lae, Morobe province, to Mt Hagen.
Mr Pu invited those needing wheelchairs to register at the FORD office located at the Mt Hagen council chambers building.
More information about registration can be obtained from Mr Pu on 72837104 or Yama Demas on 71307725.