Simply having a wheelchair is not enough to allow a person with disabilities to achieve mobility. They need the right chair, and they need the chance to learn how to use it. Of the world’s 65 million people who need chairs, less than 5% have access to a chair that properly fits them. The choices of chair users in less developed countries are often severely limited by the short supply. Most have to make do with whatever chair they get their hands on. This may be better than nothing, but a chair that’s too big can render travel unwieldy while one that’s too small can cause pain and discomfort.
Our friends at USAID are working to change this. As Rob Horvath, the organization’s manager of programs for chair users puts it, “Wheelchairs bring mobility, but well-fitting wheelchairs bring independence.” To this end, USAID is backing efforts in 15 countries to match people with the right chairs. Because of them, we are already seeing increased mobility for persons with disabilities in Albania, Georgia, Indonesia, Iraq, Kenya, Liberia, Morocco, Nepal, Pakistan, Peru, Romania, Sierra Leone, Sri Lanka, Sudan, and Togo. We at BlazeSports commend these efforts and we are proud to continue our work with USAID.