Children w Disabilities





History Logs

Project Description

Region: Africa

Country: South Africa

Location: Newcastle. South Africa

Total Budget: $50,000

Area of Focus: Disease prevention and treatment

In 2019, Uhambo, the Rotary Club of Fort Collins and the Newcastle Club have received a RI grant to provide holistic clinical services and devices to children with mobility disabilities in Newcastle, South Africa, as well as build the local capacity of the community so they can meet the needs of their disabled population.

For Phase 2 in 2020, we propose to continue this project in the community that will improve the quality of life of children with disabilities, increase the skills of health care providers and community workers, increase the knowledge and skills of caregivers (family members and staff), decrease the stigma around disabilities, and create a network of support in the community -- all of which allows for the community to sustain supporting children with disabilities.

By the Fall of 2019, upon completion of several activities for the current grant, we will be able to further define what will be needed for Phase 2 but it will most likely include:

1. Conduct outreach clinical services

2. Recommendations and manufacturing of customized, appropriate devices for children in need

3. Train local clinical therapists from the Department of Health

4. Training caregivers

5. "Let's Talk" disability sensitization trainings

6. Empowerment of community for advocacy activities on behalf of children with disabilities

The Need

Children with disabilities and their parents and caregivers in rural areas of South Africa have limited access to the medical devices and services they need. Appropriate and comfortable seating is key to achieving independence and social inclusion. Without a proper wheelchair, individuals may develop secondary medical challenges such as pressure ulcers. In fact, this condition is one of the leading causes of death among paralyzed people in the developing world.

The World Health Organization states that as many as 80% of those who need wheelchairs live in low income and developing regions, such as Africa. Only a small percentage of those who need a wheelchair have one. Studies have shown that assistive technologies, such as wheelchairs, when fitting for the user and the user's environment, have a significant impact on the level of independence and participation which people with disabilities are able to achieve (WHO, 2011). They have been reported to reduce the need for formal support services (WHO, 2011) as well as reduce the time and physical burden for caregivers (Allen et al., 2006).

The use of mobility devices, in particular, creates opportunities for education and work, and contributes to improved health and quality of life (May-Teerink, 1999; Eide & Oderud, 2009; Shore, 2008). Wheelchairs, thus, provide children with disabilities with the opportunity to become participating members of society ("Guidelines on the provision of manual wheelchairs in less resourced settings", WHO 2008).

Other challenges in the disability sector in South Africa include: a shortage of experienced and specialized providers in rural areas, lack of funding by the government, and stigma or lack of understanding about the nature of disabilities. Through Uhambo's grassroots and holistic programs, some of the most vulnerable people in the world, children with disabilities, are served and these issues are addressed through the provision of appropriate devices and equipment, customized training and community development.

Our project will take place in Newcastle, South Africa including the main townships of Madadeni and Osizweni. This region has over 500,00 people, approximately 5,200 people have a mobility disability and 2,600 children have mobility disabilities. All children with mobility disabilities are classified as needing "specialized" wheelchair seating (because over time they grow and the chair needs to fit their condition and size).

Newcastle-Majuba Rotary Club members have experienced the needs of children in this community after they distributed more than 100 standard (not specialized) wheelchairs in the community in 2017. Therapists throughout Africa have not been trained to seat or fit children in specialized wheelchairs. In addition, there are currently no early childhood development centers available in the community for children with disabilities.

Primary Host Partner

District: 9370

Rotary Club of: Newcastle-Majuba

Primary Contact: Christo Brockmann

Email: christo@brockmann.co.za

Primary International Partner

District: 5440

Rotary Club of: Fort Collins

Primary Contact: Robin Steele

Email: robinlynnsteele@msn.com

Project Status

Need $27,000
This project needs to receive some pledges to go to the next level. Please check the "Financing" tab to see the list of current pledges. Once the amount pledged is equal to the project budget, the status of the project will be automatically changed to "Fully Pledged".
Click here to pledge support for this project.

Project listed for the 2021-22 Rotary Year.

The TRF Grant application number is #2117776.

Proposed Financing

Existing Contributions Towards This Project





Fort Collins (5440)





Fort Collins (5440)





Remaining Amount to Raise

Additional Club Contribution (Needed) - Add a contribution




Amount Requested from The Rotary Foundation






Note: as of July 1, 2015 there is a 5% additional support fee for cash contributions. This fee does not appear in the financials above because it does not apply if the funds are sent directly to the project account (without going through TRF, and therefore without Paul Harris credit). Clubs sending their cash contribution to TRF must be aware they will have to send an additional 5%.

Project Supporting Documents

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History Log Entries


by Lucinda Kerschensteiner

System Entry: Creation of project page.


by Robin Steele

System Entry: Pledge of $250 by Donna Chapel of the Rotary Club of Fort Collins, District 5440.

© 2010 Philippe Lamoise - Website design by Philippe Lamoise, D2G Online