One wheelchair a day for disabled people
Yakkum Bali Foundation has launched a program called “One wheelchair a day for the disabled,” to help people with disabilities gain access to active and productive lives.
Sang Ayu Putu Eka Sujiati, an official at the foundation, also called the Rehabilitation Network for the Physically Challenged, said that disabled people would be able to borrow wheelchairs.
“We will try to provide adaptive wheelchairs designed to adjust to the physical conditions of different disabled people,” Putu explained at her office in Abian Semal village in Badung on Thursday.
Under the program, the foundation is hoping to collect at least 365 adaptive wheelchairs by the end of this year.
Currently, the foundation has only 48 wheelchairs donated by United Cerebral Palsy (UCP) in Yogyakarta.
“In the past, people suffered from physical disabilities due to contracting polio, now most of them suffer from cerebral palsy,” added Putu, who contracted polio in her childhood.
Cerebral palsy is a medical term encompassing a group of nonprogressive, noncontagious motor conditions that cause physical disability in human development, chiefly in the various areas of body movement.
Cerebral palsy is caused by damage to the motor control centers of the developing brain and can occur during pregnancy, childbirth or after birth up to about age three.
Resulting limitations in movement and posture result in activity limitations and are often accompanied by disturbances of sensation, depth perception and other sight-based perceptual problems.
“Yakkum will not sell the wheelchairs. Disabled people can borrow the chairs for up to three years. Payment of a membership fee is required, which is around 10 percent of the parents’ income,” Putu said.
Putu also said that people who borrow the wheelchairs must also cover the cost of transporting the chairs from Yogyakarta. “Many of them pay only Rp 60,000,” she said. Since 1999, Yakkum has reached out to 1,431 disabled people across Bali providing them with necessary facilities and life-skill trainings. It is estimated that there are 10,000 disabled people in Bali, who have not received any assistance from Yakkum or the local authorities.
“The Bali government has never conducted a survey on the number of disabled people on the island,” she added.
I Nengah Latra, the founder of Yakkum, said that so far, the provincial government seemed to ignore disabled people.
“There must be a bylaw on disability, which can be used as a strong legal umbrella to help people with disabilities gain adequate access to education, healthcare, employment and social activities,” Latra said.
Every citizen, including the disabled, had the right to equal education, as well as job opportunities.
“But before they can join schools or enter the working world, disabled people must be equipped with the necessary life-skill training,” he said.
Yakkum, he said, could not work alone. The government and all members of society must join forces to create a friendly and healthy living environment for people with physical disabilities.