AFRICA/GHANA - The missionary who creates wheelchair Tricycles for the disabled: a hope for the "last among the last"

Saturday, 13 July 2019 human rights   solidarity   development   disabled   orders   missionary institutes   poverty  

Accra (Agenzia Fides) - On the streets of Tamale, a Ghanaian town of over three hundred thousand inhabitants, you see boys and adults with disabilities. In those conditions, disabled people can only stay near their home. The rest of the world does not exist for them and, above all, they live in a degrading condition. Looking at these "last among the last", marginalized, vulnerable and without any help, Brother Trevor Robinson, an English missionary of the White Fathers (the Society of Missionaries of Africa), had the evangelical desire to dedicate time and energy to improve their living conditions. For this reason he decided to create simple handmade wheelchair tricycles for the disabled. Exploring the possibilities to remedy that situation, Brother Trevor designed a wheelchair tricycle that enables the person to sit in a wheelchair-type bike seat and move pedals with their hands, thus enabling them to have mobility. From the project to the first prototype, the step was short and, thanks to the help of volunteers and donors, Brother Robinson started the work of recovering useful material, such as pieces of old bicycles donated by friends or acquaintances.
"When I started, I thought of turning this tricycle into an opportunity for street kids. I asked some of them to help me. At first we produced about ten a week. Now, slowly, we have reached fifty", says the missionary. The total price of a tricycle for disabled people is about 250 euros. "They have been given to men, women and older children who are too poor to purchase like this for themselves. Some people offer us a little money if they have it — but for the most part, those who are receiving them are too poor to pay anything at all. The wheelchair tricycles allow people to have dignity", he points out.
"When a disabled person manages to obtain one of these means - concludes Brother Trevor - he enters a new dimension and regains a hope of life. Thanks to the tricycle, he can move anywhere. This allows him to relate with many people and to grow. Not only that, but his muscles become stronger and this improves his physical health condition. Now there is a glimmer of gratitude and light in their lives". (EC) (Agenzia Fides, 13/7/2019)



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