Freedom Wheelchairs (based at the Chiang Mai Disabled
Center) have recently celebrated two significant milestones: their second
birthday and fiftieth wheelchair donation.
Suanalam, a 3-year-old little girl, with her new Cerebral Palsy ‘buggy’.
boy Puwadon Wormalalot with a new wheelchair. Both Puwadon and Dthai are
from the village of Tam Lod (famous for its cave system) in Mae Hon Son.
The fifty mark was passed during a recent trip to Mae Hon
Son, where six wheelchairs, including two special children’s Cerebral
Palsy ‘buggies’, were donated free of charge to needy recipients, who
otherwise would never have been able to afford to buy such products.
Alongside the provision of wheelchairs and other mobility
aids (such as children’s walking frames), a ‘follow up’ program visits
recipients and their families on a regular basis to provide physical and
occupational therapy, motivation and encouragement, and general advice on
where and how to access health, education and benefit services. Such a
package of provisions is necessary, as families (especially in rural areas)
have no knowledge of their rights or of the services available to them.
In cases of severely disabled children, simple advice to
parents on nutrition or exercise can transform the lives of recipients.
Parents are given hope that their child can develop, get an education and
gain a worthwhile quality of life.
By making weekly visits to different areas and
communities across northern Thailand and in establishing links with
provincial Special Education Centers and the Northern Child Development
Center, in Chiang Mai, it has been possible to reach and help many disabled
children who would otherwise have “fallen through the net”.
The numbers of candidates for the program are increasing
all the time and new, larger production premises are presently being sought
to help cope with the increased demand.
The wheelchairs and mobility aids are provided through a
well-established sponsorship program which allows for goods and services to
be provided free of charge. The cost of a sponsorship is currently 8,000
For further information about the work of the Foundation to Encourage the
Potential of Disabled Persons, please telephone 053-852 172, e-mail [email protected]
or visit the website at www.disabled.infothai.com