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Wheelchairs of Hope

Wheelchairs of Hope has developed a durable low-cost wheelchair designed to navigate the infrastructure of developing countries to enable children to get to and from school. It is lightweight, very low maintenance, and comes in three bright color options so that it physically resembles a product designed for children. It ships anywhere in the world, and arrives in a package with simple instructions for assembly at home.

According to UNICEF and the World Health Organization, seven million children in developing countries in need of a wheelchair do not have access to one. Of those, almost 90% are unable to attend school, function independently in society, or even interact with other children. There are three main causes for this:

  • most traditional wheelchairs are adult sized and ill-suited for the terrain and infrastructure of developing countries
  • mechanical challenges, including complicated assembly or inadequate fitting
  • the relatively high cost of purchasing a wheelchair for families living in poverty

Families including a member with disabilities already have to spend significantly more money on healthcare, resulting in the children who would benefit most from access to a wheelchair being the least likely to be able to obtain one. The resulting personal, social, and economic consequences are devastating: global literacy rates among children with disabilities are in the single digits, while the inability to independently explore their environment and social isolation irreparably impairs children’s development. This further reduces their access to future social and economic opportunities that carry the potential to end the cycle of poverty.

Compared to the cost of standard wheelchairs, which can range from $1,000-5,000, Wheelchairs of Hope retail at under $120.  They are currently available in over 27 countries and have been distributed to more than 10,000 children since 2017. Wheelchairs of Hope is currently collaborating with ALYN Hospital to design and develop a second-generation wheelchair with improved head support and reclining options to accommodate children with more complex conditions.