We’ve got a racing wheelchair.

  On April 5, we got 29 wheelchairs from Saitama Prefectural Kawashima Hibarigaoka Special School. There was a racing wheelchair among them, which weighs 7.2 kg, about half or one third of regular bicycle. The frame is made of aluminum alloy, and the front and rear wheels are ultra-thin to reduce rolling resistance and emphasize speed. It is probably for track and field competitions on a flat track. The style is very cool, and one can imagine how it is used in the race.

  The teacher at Kawashima Hibarigaoka who provided the wheelchair said, “The student who was using it has graduated, and after that, there were no more students who wanted to use it. It’s been left for long and needs to be repaired, but we can’t afford the cost of that, so we would like you to take it.”

  Meanwhile, around 2018, we received an inquiry from our partner in Ethiopia, “We have a young man who wants to compete in the Paralympics. Could you provide him with a racing wheelchair?” At the time, we approached various parties to provide racing wheelchairs, but no one offered. We considered purchasing a new one, but it proved to be too expensive, and we had to give up.

  Because of this background, getting the racing wheelchair was a happy one for us. We are not sure if the young man at the time still wants a racing wheelchair today, but we thought it would be a good idea to make the appropriate repairs to this wheelchair and send it to Ethiopia.

  Before actually shipping the wheelchair, we’ll make sure whether it’s possible for the partner to receive the racing wheelchair. We also have an expert look at the wheelchair to ensure that it is in proper condition for racing and that it is functional and safe.

  The racing wheelchair is different from the wheelchairs that have been the goal of our NGO’s activities, which are based on the daily lives of the children, “bringing the joy of mobility to them.” However, it is exciting just to imagine young people with physical disabilities being able to play sports and run lively with our support. We do not know how much we will need to pay for the maintenance, but we will do our best to send it to Ethiopia without wasting the donation from the special school this time.

April 14, 2023      Hirokazu Morita

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