Tuesday, May 11, 2010

New Hope for Haiti ’s Amputees

MOBILITY International
New Hope for Haiti ’s Amputees

Fort Smith Manufacturer Creates Innovative, Cost-Effective Wheelchair
Offering Increased Independence for Disabled Haitians

Fort Smith, AR , May 10, 2010 — We have read a great deal about the crushing circumstances facing the survivors of Haiti’s January earthquake. Among the most needy are thousands of new amputees. Haiti’s economic and social structure has always provided special challenges to a physically handicapped person. These barriers are even more pronounced in the aftermath of the earthquake. Many Americans have been wondering how to best assist the people of Haiti, and now, through a long-established Haitian ministry and its American charity partner, The Red Thread Promise, Americans can make an immediate and meaningful difference in the lives of Haitian citizens by purchasing specialized wheelchairs.

A new all-terrain wheelchair (ATW) can do wonders to help this underserved amputee population. Developed and patented by MOBILITY International of Fort Smith, AR (www.mobilityintl.org), this wheelchair bears little resemblance to a typical wheelchair. Instead, it is more robust and geared to rougher urban or rural terrain.

The MOBILITY ATW sits lower with a special replaceable seat cushion that absorbs bounce. Its back wheels are mountain bike tires. The wide-track front wheels are smaller than those of a standard wheelchair and provide better maneuverability around tree limbs, rocks and potholes than the widely used urban/hospital-style wheelchair that has thin front wheels. Special automatic flex suspension controls side-to-side movement and the front end extends forward to provide front-to-rear stability.

This rugged vehicle is therefore suitable for a wide range of use, indoors and outdoors, from hospitals to city streets to off-road terrain. Its heavy-duty construction is ideal for passage over the steep ascents and descents characteristic of the roads and pathways in rural areas of Haiti where it is most critically needed.

With these ATWs, students of all ages, formerly dependent on family and friends to carry them to school, will be able to attend classes on their own. Homebound adults will be able to better care for themselves through their improved mobility, gaining more independence, and returning to jobs to support themselves and their families.

Rotary District 6110, of which several area Rotary Clubs are aligned, is now partnering with The Red Thread Promise, a 501(c)(3) charity to serve Hosean International Ministries (HOSEAN) of Pignon and Mountain Top Ministries (MTM) of Gramothe, Haiti. Together, Rotary District 6110 and The Red Thread Promise will provide and maintain these wheelchairs at distribution and maintenance stations in Gramothe and Pignon, Haiti.

The proud first owner of the new technology all terrain wheelchair from MTM and The Red Thread Promise is Robert of Gramothe, Haiti. Robert is a welder and farmer as well as a father of several sons, all educated with one completing his advanced education. Robert has lost the use of his lower legs and thereby his mobility. The ATW will allow Robert to return to his trade and continue to be a productive citizen and head of family.

The next shipment of 144 wheelchairs and associated maintenance depot supplies is currently being staged for manufacture, shipment, and distribution. The wheelchair and maintenance kit, a $900 retail value, is provided to The Red Thread Promise for Haitian service at a special humanitarian service price of $325.

You are invited to go to www.mobilityintl.org and click on the video to see the wheelchair in action. While browsing the site, you can learn more about the history and operations of the wheelchair company.

Mountain Top Ministries (MTM) is a well-established institution in Gramothe, near Port au Prince, which provides a school and medical clinic to impoverished mountain people of Haiti. One of MTM’s chief priorities, even before the earthquake, is to help fellow Haitians take ownership of their nation and work to defeat generational poverty, village by village.

The Red Thread Promise (TRTP), a nonprofit organization providing medical care to the world’s orphans, has a longstanding relationship with MTM. Members of TRTP visit regularly, hand-carrying supplies into Haiti and teaching English in the school. President Kathy Korge Albergate says, “There is major need for wheelchairs in these mountainous areas. The Haitian mountains are a constant obstacle to impoverished disabled children, adults and seniors attempting to maneuver through the rough terrain. Mobility’s all-terrain wheelchairs can provide a life-changing experience for these people, and we are so grateful to have the opportunity to directly impact the lives of so many people in need.”

MOBILITY International, the designer and maker of the chair, is an outgrowth of one of Arkansas’ oldest manufacturers. MOBILITY will also supply spare parts and maintenance kits for the wheelchairs. The wheelchairs are easily disassembled and reassembled for repair and maintenance. The goal for the next generation of the ATW, now approaching production level development, is to use common bicycle wheels and other readily available items for replacement parts. MTM has a well-equipped workshop at their facility and is eager to employ Haitians to assemble and maintain the wheelchairs.

Concerned persons who wish to learn more about The Red Thread Promise or Mountain Top Ministries can do so at www.redthreadpromise.org or www.mobilityintl.org. These sites also accept donations for wheelchairs using PayPal. Finally, you can donate through Global Giving or by mailing your checks to The Red Thread Promise at 4027 Dauphine Street, New Orleans, LA 70117. All donations are tax-deductible to the full extent of the law.

Help us make mobility for the permanently handicapped a reality for the disabled people of Haiti.

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Robert R. of Gramothe, Haiti. New ATW Wheelchair Owner. Robert is a welder and farmer by trade.

Office (918) 895-2395 FAX 270.398.6060 * P.O. Box 35913 * Tulsa OK 74153

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