300 WHEELCHAIRS DELIVERED TO AFRICA - August 2013
Milton and Elaine Frary with Bob and Chris and wheelchair recipientsSkegness Rotarian Bob Suich together with the Rotary District International Officer for our district Rotarian Chris Suich, have travelled to South Africa and delivered 300 wheelchairs donated by Rotary Clubs including Skegness.
All the Rotarians travelled at their own cost with the leader of the Rotary Wheelchair Foundation UK Rotarian Milton Frary and his Rotarian wife Elaine. Driving hundreds of miles for three weeks in a small people carrier after first flying to Johannesburg, they then passed through many South African towns and townships where a lot of people live in extreme poverty. This was a very emotional but hugely worthwhile project.
The wheelchairs were delivered by sea in containers to South Africa and then by road with the help of the South African Rotary Clubs in Bethlehem, George, Port Elizabeth, Stutterheim and Newcastle, where the wheelchair handovers took place.
The wheelchairs are in six different sizes ranging from children to large adults and were mostly allocated in advance by the local Rotarians in discussion with their communities. On occasion it was heartbreaking when people in need heard about the wheelchair handovers and arrived in hope but there were not enough wheelchairs for them to have one. There is still a huge need for more wheelchairs.
Previously most of the recipients had been carried by family members or crawled along the ground or maybe pulled themselves along on a skateboard. Otherwise many had to Bob Suich giving wheelchairs to Africaspend their lives in their small houses, most of the time in a bed isolated from society.
Between the wheelchair handovers, visits were also made with the local Rotarians to a number of local schools and community centres where books, pens, pencils and newly knitted jumpers which had been donated by friends of Chris’ were also given out and were very much appreciated as it was winter time in South Africa.