International Wheelchair Day celebrations usually takes place on the 1st of March every year globally. The day is always graced with events and activities by wheelchair users as they celebrate the positive impact a wheelchair has on their lives.
This year’s theme for the celebrations was ‘My Wheelchair my Ability to Inclusion’.
The National Council for Persons with Disabilities marked the celebrations of International Wheel Chair Day on 3rd March 2020 in partnership with other stakeholders at the Nairobi Railways Club.
Since its birth in 2008, International Wheelchair celebrations have taken place in Kenya, South Africa, Australia, Senegal, Nepal, Bangladesh, United Kingdom, Pakistan, and United States of America and it continues to grow annually in other countries.
The aim of the 2020 International Wheelchair celebrations was to highlight several issues which affect wheelchair users directly or indirectly and wheelchair services. For instance;
- How to enable wheelchair users to celebrate the positive impact a wheelchair has in their lives
- To create awareness on accessibility for wheelchair users
- To celebrate the great work of people who support provision of wheelchairs
- To support and care for wheelchair users.
Having the Right Wheelchair for the Right Person
Guest speakers including the Chief Guest during the event Mr. Nelson Marwa, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Labour and Social Protection in their speeches expressed the need for having the right wheelchairs given to the right persons. This is after the realization that some wheelchairs end up causing more harm to their users because they are not right for their specific disability.
Speakers of the day called upon both the government, non-governmental bodies and other stakeholders involved in wheelchair distribution to ensure that any wheelchair given to a person with physical disability should match his/her needs. The wheelchairs should be given considering a persons’ condition, just like ‘a doctor’s prescription.’
It is important to note that people are not “confined” to their wheelchairs, they are in fact liberated by their wheels. A person with paralysis can get around as quickly as any other person when in the right type of wheelchair.
By: Linzer Kibebe