An occupational therapist named Haruka Kato has sent us an email asking for wheelchairs for children. Ms. Kato, a member of JICA, working in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam, found our website.
“I’m working at a rehabilitation center in Ho Chi Minh, where 150 children with disability come daily. About 40 of them need a wheelchair and they can use a wheelchair made in Vietnam. However not all the wheelchairs are fit for each child and their backrest is right angle (90 degrees). As these children spend most of the day at the center, I have long wanted to provide wheelchairs with tilting or reclining function. People around me have never seen such functions and it’s not easy for them to understand the necessity of them.
I’m wondering if you could send some of your wheelchairs to our center. If there are some, I hope it’ll be possible to make similar wheelchairs.”
At first I thought it quite difficult to send wheelchairs on our own because of the severe import restrictions for used goods to Vietnam, but I wanted to do as much as I could. Then luckily one of our NGO’s members introduced a Vietnamese, La Van Phuong, who runs a trading company (Raifuku-Boueki) in Japan. Mr. Phuong offered to transport wheelchairs for nothing.
I called a few members to meet right away. We cleaned, refurbished, and packed five wheelchairs and sent them to Raifuku-Boueki in Nagoya. I hear it takes one or two months to deliver wheelchairs from Nagoya to Ho Chi Min. Though it takes a long time, I’m happy that we can donate five wheelchairs to the south of Vietnam, where we have had no opportunity to deliver our wheelchairs.
March, 2020 Hirokazu Morita