It’s a gift that will dramatically change the life of many persons with physical disabilities. This morning, they received their personal energy transport, a hybrid wheelchair. The donation was facilitated by CARE Belize and the carts are compliments of Pet International. News Five’s Delahnie Bain captured the emotion of the recipients in the following report from Stella Maris School.
Delahnie Bain, Reporting
One hundred physically challenged persons will receive the gift of mobility in the form of a device called the Personal Energy Transport or PET Cart. The donation from PET International came about after its distributing partner, Hope Heaven International, visited CARE Belize in 2007.
Evan Cowo, Director, CARE Belize
“Mark Richards and Hope Heaven International have a factory in Guatemala, Antigua that produces wheelchairs and other devices that are used for the physically challenged and all of these devices are made by persons with physical disabilities. In 2009, Mark was participating in a Rotary fair at the Radisson and there is where the dialogue began for PET Carts and other specialized wheelchairs. The following year, in 2010 September, our regional field officer for the Stann Creek District participated in the Central American mobility partnership and it was there that she met Von Driggs from PET international and the offer of one hundred PET Carts was made.”
Kim Simpliss-Barrow, Special Envoy for Women and Children
“It was brought through a collaboration with the Special Envoy for Women and Children and Care Belize and it was a donation that was made to us through Penny Farms Incorporated in the United States.”
The PET Carts are designed for paraplegics. It is maneuvered manually and allows access in areas where a wheelchair would not function.
Santos Elijio, PET Cart Recipient
“You can’t depend pan nobody fi do weh yoh need fi do fi yourself because when time yoh wait pan somebody fi do things fi yoh, people tell yoh dehn soon come and dehn go and dehn noh come back. So now I go buy mi goods and I put it eena mi cart and I go home. Ih tek time but yoh need something fi serve you fi yoh purpose.”
Renan Solis, PET Cart Recipient
“It looks really nice and I think it will be helping me a lot with my mobility.”
“How do you expect this to benefit you?”
“Well, I am already kinda getting used to the wheelchair so I have to get use to that one because I work and inside my glass shop I have to use the wheelchair, I cannot use that one in there. So I will use it for exercise.”
Aleida Ortega, PET Cart Recipient
“I am very thankful for the people who give me this because this is good for me to help me. Give me the chance to demonstrate to people that people have disability, but I can do it and everyone can do it.”
The first twenty recipients were at today’s handing over ceremony and the Special Envoy for Women and Children, Kim Simpliss Barrow, says the distribution will continue in the districts.
“The rest will be handed out over time. We have some for Stella Maris and we were just trying to organize ourselves to get to Benque to do a presentation to some kids in Benque. So hopefully we will be able to go out district and make some of these presentations. Today we tried to get people from the different districts so that there’s an overall representation from all the different districts.”
Delahnie Bain for News Five.
Today’s recipients included Special Olympics athletes and special needs children who were featured in the 2011 calendar.