We Provide Mobility to Children and Adults worldwide
Purpose and background
The Canadian Wheelchair Foundation (CWF) is an integral part of an international effort to promote awareness and serve the needs of people affected by physical disabilities. CWF strives to provide a wheelchair to every man, woman, and child who needs one, but has no means to acquire one.
CWF is dedicated to working in collaboration with partners, national institutions and local NGO’s in delivering wheelchairs. These partnerships allow CWF to provide large scale aid to those who are most in need, while supporting national competency and promoting civil society.
The brand new wheelchairs we deliver would retail for over $600 in most ‘first world’ countries. They are specifically designed to withstand the harsher conditions in most developing countries. Our ability to buy bulk containers of 100 to 280 wheelchairs from the manufacturer allows us to purchase new wheelchairs at a fraction of this cost. As a result, we are able to deliver brand new wheelchairs to the country of destination for $195 each.
The containers are shipped by sea to the stipulated country and upon arrival, the container is transported to one of our trusted partners. These partners include a wide range of organizations both local and international, governmental and NGO, that are able to import the containers free of duty. Our partners vary based on the recipient state. We maintain this flexibility in order to maximize the efficiency and impact of our wheelchair deliveries. The partnership is decided based on who we feel is capable of distributing the wheelchairs to those most in need while maintaining the security of the shipment, and the integrity of our organization.
Sponsors are able to participate in the distribution of the wheelchairs with the help of our partner organizations who often set up specific central distribution days and home visits. These hands-on encounters have proven highly fulfilling and life changing for both donors and recipients.
The donation and wheelchair delivery process is tracked at every stage. Once the wheelchairs have been successfully distributed, confirmation, thanks and a personalized photograph of the recipient is provided to all sponsors from our headquarters in British Columbia, Canada.
To learn more about our process, please go to Frequently Asked Questions.
Need and Impact
It is estimated that more than 100 million people throughout the world are in need of a wheelchair but cannot afford one. These people cannot be helped by canes, crutches, walkers or prosthetics. A wheelchair is their only hope for mobility and independence.
On average, roughly 3% of the population in developing states are physically disabled and unable to afford a wheelchair. The majority of these people live in moderate or extreme poverty.
There are many reasons for the large prevalence of physical disability worldwide. These factors include: war, disease, accident, lack of health care, and aging among others. Due to civil unrest, landmines and unexploded ordnances and lack of government records, the percentage of physically disabled is likely grossly underestimated. Although international efforts such as the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL), have aided in reducing the specific problem of landmines, some states continue to produce, sell, and use these weapons against civilian populations. As a result, the need for wheelchairs will continue.
Ongoing conflict and civil war has put the disability rates in countries like Angola as high as 20%. States including Afghanistan, Iraq, Cambodia and Sierra Leone are not far behind.
The hardship immobility creates is felt more in developing states than anywhere else. The physically disabled are often unable to gain education or employment and are viewed as an added burden in places where mere survival is no guarantee.
The delivery of a wheelchair to a person without mobility improves the quality of life of the entire family. In gaining mobility, persons with disabilities are given an opportunity to integrate themselves into society; by attending school, going to work, and becoming a part of the community.
A wheelchair provides people with the opportunity to better their own lives. Through the gift of mobility, persons with physical disabilities are able to contribute to both family and community life in new ways. Recipients are not the only ones whose lives are altered by the presence of a wheelchair. By a physically disabled person gaining increased mobility, human resources, be it from family or friends, are being freed for both employment and education.
It is estimated that an average of 10 lives are impacted in a positive way with the delivery of every wheelchair.
Our Commitment to Sustainable Development
The Canadian Wheelchair Foundation/Fondation Chaise Roulante Canada (CWF) is committed to perpetuating sustainable development. While wheelchairs can be categorized as humanitarian aid, they have proven to be a proficient tool of sustainable development in all the communities where we have ongoing programs.
CWF maintains a strong capacity building mandate. The mobility wheelchairs provide makes them an important tool of empowerment. In gaining mobility, persons with disabilities are given an opportunity to integrate themselves into society; by attending school, going to work, and becoming a part of the community. In addressing the needs of the disabled community, and thereby acknowledging their value as citizens, CWF promotes accessibility and integration. The importance of creating a strong civil society is an important step in creating lasting development.
By giving people a means to help themselves through use of a wheelchair, CWF is helping to transform “development aid” into development opportunity.