PANGA LA WENDE, the wheelchair project
The Project Director Édouard Ouédraogo uses a wheelchair himself and is a former Paralympic champion of Burkina Faso, so he is fully aware of the needs of people with disabilities. He has been working with Katrin Rohde for 25 years now and is a role model of courage and joie de vivre.
People with disabilities without a wheelchair can apply for one to AMPO. We assess their need and on presentation of a valid identity card we will build a tricycle wheelchair for them. Usually the AMPO staff have to assist in applying for the first identity card, which represents a huge step towards autonomy.
Conventional wheelchairs are unsuitable for sandy, uneven roads (there are only a few tarmac roads in the capital). People also have to travel long distances because there is no public transport network in Ouagadougou, a city of 2 million inhabitants. The tricycle wheelchairs are sturdy and can be operated by hand crank to manage longer trips without too much effort.
The hand-driven wheelchair costs around € 250. Sometimes there is quite a wait, because it is not always possible to finance the wheelchair immediately. The money comes from specific donations from sponsors in Europe. Once we receive a donation we start to build the wheelchair which is then passed on to someone in need in Ouagadougou. AMPO also supports schoolchildren with disabilities, financing their first wheelchair and paying their school fees, thus giving them free access to schooling.
AMPO has been committed to supporting people with disabilities in Burkina Faso for 25 years. The life of someone with disability in such a poor country as this is hardly comparable to European standards. There is no comprehensive healthcare system or health insurance in Burkina Faso. There is 1 doctor for every 10,000 inhabitants and the cost of treatment must be borne by the patients themselves. Many people with disabilities have to cope with their everyday lives without mobility aids or medical care. They are often living in dire poverty, dependent on the help of others. Nearly half of those with disabilities are unemployed and more than 70% of children with disabilities have no access to a school education.
The aim of the AMPO facilities for people with disabilities is to assist them to become autonomous and to support them in maintaining their mobility.
- Direct and practical mobility aids for people with disabilities in urban and rural environments
- Support towards a life of self-determination
- Access to education and vocational training
- Creation of employment capacity and sustainable livelihood
- Awareness of the situation of people with disabilities
- Long-term support for wheelchair maintenance and repair
The HANDICAP MOBILE project takes the wheelchair workshop to people with disabilities in other regions of Burkina Faso. Regular visits are organised three times a month to areas in a radius of 200 km. HANDICAP MOBILE works in cooperation with local disability associations, providing wheelchairs mainly for children with disabilities to enable them to attend school.
The facilities work closely together and are able to reach out to 1600 people with disabilities every year. This support has a positive impact on the lives of these people, giving them mobility, more self-determination in many areas of their lives and thus building their self-confidence.
Education and vocational training and the opportunity to contribute to maintaining a livelihood make significant long-term changes to the lives of families and their environment.