For the third year in a row now, the American Wheelchair Mission (AWM) together with the Ateneo de Davao University (AdDU), will provide the persons with disability (PWDs) in Davao City their own wheelchair and other orthopedic assistive devices.
On April 30, 2015, at the Finster Auditorium of AdDU, a ceremony shall take place to initially distribute 75 mobility devices which will include wheelchairs, crutches, canes and walkers.
This year, the mission hopes to reach out to around 500 PWDs for the 264 wheelchairs, 96 crutches, 32 canes, and 33 walkers. Each wheelchair costs USD500 and has more practical features along with a basic toolkit.
This effort is largely supported by the Knights of Columbus of California having seen the need to help those in need of these devices. According to Abe Dolinete, State Deputy of California Knights, “the mission is intended to bring these devices to indigent PWDs and be able to help them attain mobility.”
As a partner of the AWM, AdDU, through its School of Nursing, Department of Social Work, and Office of the President, under the coordination of the University Community Engagement and Advocacy Council, ensures that the beneficiaries are those most deserving. As part of the application process, the volunteer social work students visited the PWDs for validation.
Since 2013, AWM through AdDU has already given away an estimated 1,000 orthopedic assistive devices to the PWDs not only of Davao but also to those in Compostela Valley, Agusan del Norte and even Surigao del Sur provinces.
AdDU assistant to the president Jeremy “Bong” Eliab said, AdDU is grateful that AWM continued to trust the university in being of service to the PWD community in Mindanao. “The whole process is challenging but it is very meaningful,” he added.
It takes five to six months to ship the devices from America to the Philippines and a week from Manila to Davao. Prior to these transfers, the AWM spends a lot of time raising funds to be able to send the wheelchairs to the indigent beneficiaries.
Groups, organizations and individuals who wish to avail of the mobility devices may call the UCEAC office at 221 2411, local 8262, according to UCEAC Chairperson, Atty. Romeo T. Cabarde Jr. They will prioritize indigent PWDs who can’t afford wheelchairs or other mobility devices.