Singapore, 16 February 2000 – A total of 120 wheelchairs are packed into a 20-foot container bound for Ghana.
The Society for the Physically Disabled (SPD) spearheaded Project Wheelchairs for Ghana after it received an appeal from HelpAge Ghana for wheelchairs for the indigent poor, destitute and immobile elderly in Ghana. HelpAge Ghana, a member of HelpAge International, is a non-profit and non-governmental organisation that promotes the well-being of the elderly in Ghana. These wheelchairs will be used in the geriatric wards in a psychiatric hospital and the elderly day care centres.
SPD contributed 50 broken and unwanted wheelchairs with another 70 contributed by other voluntary welfare organisations for repairs and reconditioning.
In line with SPD’s objective to collaborate with local community groups and individuals in community service, SPD rallied the joint participation of the Henderson Community Centre (C.C.) Youth Group and Mobile Aid Repair Services (MARS) in this noble project. Thirty dedicated volunteers from SPD, Henderson C.C. Youth Group and MARS sacrificed seven weekends and Public Holidays to collect, repair and recondition the wheelchairs.
The volunteers come from diverse backgrounds – polytechnic students, young working adults and professionals. Altogether they spent a total of 250 man-hours repairing the old/damaged/faulty wheelchairs. The otherwise condemned wheelchairs were given a new lease of life through the volunteers’ labour of love.
Central Express Lines, CWT Distribution Ltd, Mitsui O.S.K. Lines Ltd and Pacific International Lines have sponsored the freight forwarding and shipping services of Project Wheelchairs for Ghana. The wheelchairs are expected to arrive in Ghana on 18 March 2000.
Mr Loke Ho Yong, Executive Director of SPD, said, “This project is an innovative and meaningful way of harnessing the synergies of VWOs, community groups, volunteers and corporations in Singapore to help the less fortunate in developing countries.”