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Mobility Means Freedom

July 5, 2017

by: Janet Aslin, Bridges for Peace

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One of the keys to independence is mobility—being able to move from place to place at will. For those who have suffered spinal cord injuries or perhaps a crippling illness, a wheelchair is the ticket to that mobility and independence. Today there are between five and eight million disabled children in the world who need wheelchairs. In the world’s poor and developing countries, their parents cannot afford to provide such an expensive item. “Wheelchairs of Hope” is an Israeli company with a vision: “to be a Light House for children in need of mobility by empowering education and creating independence.”

Two former employees of the Israeli firm, Keter Plastic, Pablo Kaplan and Ms. Chava Rothstein, set out to “develop, design, manufacture and provide a wheelchair” for children. Using the knowledge they had gained during their years at Keter, along with the help of experts in the fields of engineering design and child rehabilitation, the company achieved its goal—a lightweight, plastic wheelchair designed specifically for children with a price tag of just $100!

In an interview with Yediot Aharonot, Kaplan was quoted as saying, “I wanted to do something for humanity and this led me to thinking about wheelchairs…Plastic is both light, easy to assemble and can be shipped everywhere in the world. It is also easier for the child to move around as it weighs 10 kgs (22 lb) compared to the 17 kgs (37.5 lb) for metal chairs.”

In the same interview, Rothstein commented that, “disabled children, without means of mobility cannot attend schools. Our wheelchair will hopefully break this vicious circle.” The chair comes in three bright child-pleasing colors—red, striking blue and pistachio green.

Photo Credit: www.wheelchairsofhope.org

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