The Massy Foundation has joined with the Wheelchair Foundation of Barbados (WFB) to ensure that at least 140 persons with mobility challenges acquire the means to regain some independence as well as the ability to continue to function as active members of society.
The corporate charity made a donation of $21,000 to assist the WFB with its fifth shipment of wheelchairs, covering the cost of half of the shipment or 140 wheelchairs to meet the immediate and increasing demands within the population.
Speaking during the recent presentation, Massy Foundation’s Director David Neilands said it was their firm belief that all persons should be able to operate at their optimum capacity, even if unforeseen circumstances challenge this possibility.
“In Barbados, we are faced with the increasing need for wheelchairs due to such factors as amputations, various debilitating conditions, paralysis, and paraplegia as well as severe fractures and broken limbs caused by accident and injury. In this regard, we are grateful for this opportunity which allows us to respond to the needs of some of the most vulnerable in our society,” he said.
Neilands commended the Wheelchair Foundation for the strides that it was making to ensure that every needy person with a physical disability was provided with the means to improve their mobility.
However, he said there was need for society as a whole to be conscious and sensitive to those with physical challenges.
“[Looking] at our public infrastructure, to what extent do we allow persons who are differently abled to exist or co-exist in our collective space? We must ensure that we develop and/or improve our public spaces in terms of proper infrastructure and accessibility [and] create the proper enabling environment, to ensure that their needs are considered and met,” Neilands said.
In accepting the donation on behalf of the 13-year-old Wheelchair Foundation, president Lionel Weekes expressed gratitude to the Massy Foundation for its generous contribution. He noted that since its inception, his organization had sourced some 1,140 wheelchairs through its equal investment partnership with the Wheelchair Foundation of America.
“Taking into account the high incidence of chronic non-communicable diseases in Barbados, the number of wheelchairs being requested has been increasing, unfortunately. Our primary focus is the provision of wheelchairs. However, we’ve decided that [it is time that] we extend our scope and our concern beyond that to address the whole business about chronic non-communicable diseases,” Weekes said.
To this end, he said emphasis would be placed on prevention and counselling of persons on good nutrition and exercise. (PR)