The Rotary Clubs of Mosman and The Entrance, and the Interact Club at the Tumbi Umbi Campus of the Tuggerah Lakes Secondary College recently cooperated in the very successful running of a “Wheelathon” to support the provision of wheelchairs for disabled children in developing countries. The “Wheelchairs for Kids” (WFK) program has two key objectives:

1.      Providing wheelchairs to children enabling them to have mobility for the first time in their lives, facilitating their involvement with family activities, and aiding their integration into their local communities.  The wheelchairs are provided free of charge through various organisations, including overseas Rotary Clubs, World Vision etc. who arrange shipment and fitting to the individual children. The wheelchairs are a life changer for both the children and their families.

2.      Encouraging the school's students to think more generally about the importance of enabling access and inclusion for children who have less abilities than others and providing them with a meaningful opportunity to make a difference.

As part of the "Wheelathon", students are sponsored by family and friends to both "wheel" and "be wheeled" in wheelchairs around obstacle courses or sports grounds. The event at Tumbi Umbi ran for around half a day with great participation and enthusiasm from the students and more than $5000 was raised from sponsorship with additional funds coming from a sausage sizzle and other catering activities.

Manufacturing to support the WFK program is supervised by Rotary and carried out by volunteers in Perth. With the all up manufacturing cost being $200 per unit, the efforts of the team at Tumbi Umbi will mean more than 25 children and families will benefit from the provision of a wheelchair.

Mosman Rotary has 15 WFK wheelchairs for use in Wheelathons and can provide  information for preparation of proposals for consideration by schools; help with the promotion of events by providing access to videos, presentations, photos and other materials; and together with Rotary Clubs near schools provide logistical support and related fund-raising activities on the day such as sausage sizzles.
 
To date more than 40,000 wheelchairs have been manufactured and supplied to international charities for their distribution around the world but as always, demand exceeds supply. If your Rotary club is interested in joining with a local school in running a Wheelathon please contact Richard Vahtrick from Mosman Rotary at
rvahtrick@gmail.com.
 
 
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