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Marty Offline OP
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Sixty wheelchairs were handed over this morning to various persons with disabilities as well as some organizations. It is part of a donation of two hundred and fifty facilitated by the Special Envoy for Women and Children, Kim Simpliss Barrow via a foundation in Taiwan. The KHMH, Voice and Stella Maris received their share of the wheelchairs and the rest were handed over directly to individuals with disabilities. News Five's Delahnie Bain reports.

Delahnie Bain, Reporting

Two hundred and fifty disabled persons from across Belize will receive free wheelchairs, sponsored by the Taiwanese Pusion Foundation. The generous donation is the product of a partnership with Special Envoy for Women and Children, Kim Simplis Barrow.

Kim Simplis Barrow

Kim Simplis Barrow, Special Envoy for Women and Children

"The Wheelchairs that are being handed over today are part of a much larger donation of two hundred and fifty wheelchairs and come courtesy of the Pusion Foundation in Taiwan. In July I had the opportunity to visit that country and met with several NGOs in an effort to lay a foundation for future collaborations. During the trip I was pleasantly surprised when the foundation made known their intention to donate these wheelchairs and it came to be a most timely donation."

A small representation of the recipients was present at this morning's handing over ceremony and the remainder of the wheelchairs will be distributed by Care Belize.

Evan Cowo

Director, Evan Cowo says there is an abundance of persons who need, but cannot afford a wheelchair.

Evan Cowo, Director, CARE-Belize

"The donation of two hundred and fifty wheelchairs this morning is very welcomed. Over the past months, almost every day we keep getting calls to our office that people are requesting wheelchairs. And what is touching this morning as you can see, the recipients that we have here are children and most of these children use their wheelchair to go to school. KHMH is a recipient of twenty-five wheelchairs this morning and they will be using it in the wards and accident and emergency section. So those as well will come in handy and Doctor Longsworth is here to receive those wheelchairs."

Kim Simplis Barrow

"This inability to walk unassisted has a variety of causes from illnesses, such as diabetes, which can lead to amputations to traffic accidents, genetics and conditions at birth. And at a cost of upwards of five hundred dollars, buying a wheelchair is not feasible for many cash stricken families. As such they depend on donations from organizations such as the Pusion Foundation."

And according to Taiwanese Ambassador David Wu, the donation of wheelchairs is only one aspect of his country's support for Simplis Barrow's work in Belize.

David Wu

David Wu, Ambassador, Republic of China (Taiwan)

"Aside from the donation of the two hundred and fifty wheelchairs which was donated by the Pusion Foundation in Taiwan, my government will also donate two hundred thousand US dollars for the construction of the Inspiration Center. Additionally, my embassy has also continued to extend support to Mrs. Barrow's Lifeline Foundation activities to further assist the people of Belize. I would like to take this opportunity to commend Mrs. Barrow for her dedication and love to help women and children in Belize, particularly those with disabilities. It takes only one individual to show compassion to those persons for the rest of the world to follow the example and therefore we hope the donation will encourage more countries and more embassies to contribute and to facilitate the completion of the inspiration center."

The two hundred and fifty wheelchairs are valued at over forty thousand dollars. Delahnie Bain for News Five.

Assisting disabled persons with mobility issues is also a step toward fulfilling the mandate of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which was ratified by Belize in 2011.

Channel 5

Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 84,400
Marty Offline OP
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250 wheelchairs donated to Belize

60 wheelchairs were handed over to physically challenged Belizeans and several organizations this morning. The Special Envoy for Women and Children along with the Embassy of the Republic of China (Taiwan) and CARE-Belize, made the donation. The wheelchairs form part of a larger donation of 250 which were gifted to Mrs. Barrow by the Pusian Foundation of Taiwan during a working visit she made to that country in July, 2011. In her address this morning, Mrs. Barrow remarked that at a cost of upwards of $500, buying a wheelchair is not feasible for many families and so donations from organizations such as the Pusian Foundation are extremely important. She said that access to chairs were, however, only one step in fulfilling the mandate of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and that there still remains the issue of accessibility of buildings and lack of wheelchair-friendly transportation.

Kim Simplis-Barrow
We were pleasantly surprised about an organization called Pusian Organization in Taiwan, who donated two-hundred fifty wheelchairs to Belize and today we are presenting some of those wheelchairs to some recipients. The two-hundred fifty wheel chairs basically already have owners; it's amazing the demand that these wheelchairs have in Belize. It is really a much needed piece of equipment, because it really helps to enable the person to be independent.

The recipients of the wheelchairs included the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital which received twenty five chairs. Twelve went to CARE-Belize's clients in Corozal and Orange Walk; eight to residents from Benque Viejo del Carmen; ten to VOICE-a representative organization of older people in Belize, while Stella Maris School received 5. The director of CARE Belize explained that there is also a need for a company that can rebuild or fix wheel chairs as well.

Director, CARE-Belize
For example our clients need a wheelchair to go to work and they need a wheel chair for recreation, so that they can go out. We have request from organizations such as VOICE and wheelchairs for the elderly. This morning, I got a request from Independence from a lady who was at the hospital and she has a son who will need a wheelchair. So she requested a wheelchair. The needs are very diverse. Even KHMH will be a recipient of some wheelchairs this morning. One of the challenges and which CARE Belize is exploring, is looking at how we can get someone to repair wheelchairs, because whenever wheelchairs go bad, people do not repair them, they just get rid of them and try to get a new one.

Taiwan's Ambassador to Belize, H.E. David Wu said that his government was pleased to support the provision of the chairs as well as the establishment of an Inspiration Centre, to which they are donating $200,000 U.S. The Inspiration Centre is the brainchild of Mrs. Barrow and will provide various types of therapy and basic healthcare to persons with disabilities as well as evening classes for disadvantaged children in the community.

H.E. David Wu, Taiwan's Ambassador to Belize
It is in honor of Mrs. Barrow who visited Taiwan last August to introduce the Inspiration Center of Belize, which she is going to build in Belize City first and then other places and we were very pleased to introduce her to some very active and charitable NGO's in Taiwan and one of them is the Pusian Foundation, a very charitable, Buddhist NGO and they were very touch by the dedication and love of Mrs. Barrow for the people of Belize. So they decided to donate two-hundred fifty wheelchairs for the disabled people in Belize.

The wheelchairs are valued at over $40,000 and are being distributed through CARE-Belize.


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