| kham aid home | Wheelchairs on the way (Oct, 2000)
Chairs Delivered (Nov, 2000) | Distribution in Danba (Nov, 2000) | What we spent (Dec, 2000)
Wheelchairs to Tibet: status report
July 9, 2000
Dear Friends of the Kham Aid Foundation,
Recently we've made some great progress in our effort to bring medical equipment to Kham. This letter is an update on the program status.
In a nutshell, the purpose of the program is to bring donated wheelchairs to Kham, and distribute them to needy disabled people there. Preparations are currently underway in Taiwan, where Heartway brand wheelchairs are manufactured, to load 240 of them into a 40-foot container for shipment across the Taiwan straits, up the Yangtze to Chongqing from which they will hauled by truck to Chengdu.
In Chengdu a number of chairs will be off-loaded for distribution locally, and for shipment to Aba Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, and Liangshan Yi A.P. The remainder will go to Ganzi T.A.P. (Kham). This autumn, a team of specialists will travel with the chairs to remote towns and villages on the Tibetan plateau. Two thirds of the chairs will go to individual disabled people, the remainder will go to hospitals and clinics.
All of this is made possible by a group excellent organizations who are cooperating with us, and their visionary, tireless leaders. Let me tell you about them and their contributions to this project
Wheels for Humanity. This non-profit collects donated wheelchairs, refurbishes them, and sends them out to developing countries. They also recruit volunteer doctors and assistive technology experts to match the wheelchairs to the needs of the recipients. They are based in North Hollywood, California, their website is www.wheelsforhumanity.org, and their leader is David Richard. Through his efforts, we were able to recruit
Wheelchairs for the World Foundation of Danville, California. This amazing foundation purchases new wheelchairs, and ships them free of charge to groups operating in poor countries where David Richard's people and other groups distribute them.
Sichuan Holy Love Foundation, of Chengdu. This is a bonafide homegrown charity run by an energetic Chinese Christian, Meng Changshou. He operates a school for disabled children, brings clothing, medicine, and other aid to lepers in two villages in Liangshan, and not incidentally supports Kham Aid Foundation by providing a Chengdu apartment for our transient field workers. Some of wheelchairs will go to kids at his school. Through his participation, we have linked up with
Sichuan Federation for Disabled Persons, a branch of the China Federation of Disabled Persons, which looks after the interests of people with disabilities. (The national director is Deng Pufang, son of Deng Xiaoping). Their Sichuan office, led by director Zhu Rongli, is the official receiving organization for the donated wheelchairs, and she will be in charge of getting the chairs through customs tax-free (this is a really big deal). Additionally, we are working with their Ganzi branch to identify people in need.
Finally, we have been in contact with Operation USA, and its director Neil Frame, who has offered to provide us with donated refurbished medical equipment for distribution to clinics and hospitals in Kham. We haven't worked out a method of shipping, though, so this program is pending resolution of this and other details.
Although the major expenses of this program (wheelchairs, sea shipment) are covered, we are looking for some cash support to cover expenses on the ground. I anticipate that these expenses (additional trucking, food and lodging for the team) will come to about US$1,000. Team members will pay for their own airfare.
The payoff of this project is 240 disabled individuals who will be freed from captivity at home and dependence on family members for every personal need. Can you imagine what it's like to spend your life in bed?
If anyone is interested in supporting this program, please contact me.
Also, if anyone has a relative in Ganzi, Aba, Liangshan, or Chengdu who is in need of a wheelchair, please let me know. We will do our best to see that they get one.