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Medifab was pleased to be a part of recent Cyclone Pam assistance efforts in Vanuatu. We donated wheelchair cushions, hip belts, harnesses, foams and upholstery fabrics to help with seating Vanuatu children who are in wheelchairs. 

New Zealand therapists worked alongside the local fieldworkers in the Early Intervention Team to distribute the equipment and to give training and support for the local team to increase their skill base. 

 

The Vanuatu April 2015 Newsletter:

Ben and I had a very successful week in Vanuatu working with the Vanuatu Society of People with Disabilities, on behalf of the Altus Resource Trust.

It was amazing to see the effects of cyclone Pam, but more so the resilience of the people! Most of the houses of families we visited had damage, some even had to move out, but no one was complaining and they were all so full of smiles.

Our trip involved visiting children with disabilities on the main island of Efate. Altus organises shipments of donated equipment to the island. A lot of equipment and resources within the VSPD building was damaged in the cyclone however thankfully a shipping container had arrived several weeks before the cyclone and had not yet been unpacked.

Our work involved visiting children and their families in their homes, assessing children, providing equipment such as wheelchairs, walkers and standing frames and advising on exercise programmes.

Medifab had kindly donated some nice, new wheelchair cushions so we had a decent amount of foam and a variety of paediatric cushions to work with which was great. TiLite also donated tools, hip belts and harnesses which were of great use. Wheelchair and seating provision in Vanuatu requires a lot of creativity with the limited resources available!

Whilst we were there we ran a training session for the local fieldworkers on basic wheelchair assessment, prescription and maintenance. We were able to put together a few tool packs for the field workers to equip them with what they need to do wheelchair adjustments.

In the past few months the VSPD has started up an Early Intervention Group which they run four mornings a week in different communities around the island. It is a fantastic group where the children can learn, engage in play and socialise. The group was just starting up again following the cyclone and we were able to give some toys and resources towards this.

We would like to say a huge thank you to those who supported us and helped make this trip a success. Special thanks to Medifab and TiLite for your equipment donations. Thank you Kingsway School for your generous support and to our family and friends who helped gathered together toys and resources.

Vanessa and Ben