“My dream job is to help those with disability to become mobile,” remarked Louisa Aggrey, third year student at Orthopedic Training Centre (OTC). Located in Nsawam, Ghana, the Centre consists of an orthopedic clinic & workshop, a children’s department and the prosthetics & orthopedic training college.
Thanks to a Wheelchair Initiative sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, that dream may become reality.
- Dream Job
- Lara and Sister Findlay
- nuts and bolts
- A good fit
- many chairs
- World Health Organization
- skills learned
- Foot rest
- Chair time
- Not Easy
- Rough Rider
- Stair training
- Children with Challenges
- Brother Ruyter
- OTC Banner
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Louisa was one of 27 participants in a wheelchair technician course taught by Lara Ross, an occupational therapist from Texas, USA. Sister Ross is a volunteer for LDS Charities, the humanitarian arm of the Church. LDS Charities partners with local organizations, such as OTC, to provide assessors and technicians with skills and knowledge to provide properly fitted wheelchairs to those in need.
Since 2001, the humanitarian services of the Church have distributed more than a half million wheelchairs in 128 countries. The religious faith of the recipients is not a factor.
More than 2,000 wheelchairs were fit and distributed to those with mobility challenges in West Africa during 2016. More wheel chairs are currently being distributed.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints provides four wheelchair models for recipients around the world. Wheelchairs have been designed for various terrains and needs so they can be used in homes, on paved sidewalks or on rough roads with potholes.
“The great thing is the more options you give people, the more successful it is for them,” said Sharon Eubank, manager of major initiatives for Church humanitarian aid. “If the chair fits them they will use it more.”
Along with providing more appropriate kinds of chairs, the Church is also emphasizing local production of some wheelchairs and the chance for recipients to be involved. Supporting local factories also augments the repair options for the wheelchairs because local parts are more available and repairs can take place more quickly.
“It isn’t really about the wheelchairs,” Eubank says. “It is about what the individuals want to do next. Do they want to get a job? Go to school? That is the impact of this initiative.”