International Society of Wheelchair Professionals
Although their campaign has concluded, if you would still like to make a donation to ISWP, you may always do so here.
The International Society of Wheelchair Professionals (ISWP) wants to improve wheelchair services worldwide for the millions of people who lack a wheelchair or the appropriate chair to lead a fulfilling life. Help us reach our goal of training wheelchair professionals in less-resourced countries and providing appropriate wheelchairs to those in need.
Enormous Global Need for Wheelchairs
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that worldwide, 100 million people need a wheelchair, and only one in ten even have access to wheelchairs. There is a rush from organizations around the world to help provide these chairs, but they often are the wrong type of chair and fail quickly or hurt the user, totally defeating the purpose. We are raising funds to change this so wheelchair users will get the correct wheelchair. We specifically are focusing on developing countries, where the need is the greatest, especially in the face of a crisis, such as the recent earthquake in Nepal.
Why Training is So Important
With proper training, individuals in less-resourced countries will be able to help wheelchair users select the right chair and learn to use and maintain it. Providing these programs not only enables wheelchair users to be active contributors in society but also provides wheelchair technicians and clinicians with valuable skills to be an asset to their communities.
Where Your Donation Will Go
Your donation will make a significant difference in the life of wheelchair users and those who provide services to wheelchair users worldwide.
Funds raised will support trainees in less-resourced countries (often without formal health care training) to demonstrate proficiency in wheelchairs, via a test ($10 cost), resulting in an international certificate that may help them to obtain a job and ensure wheelchair users are provided the best services.
Diamond-level sponsors will pay for supplies for a five day in-person training for 20 people in a developing country. This extensive in-person training program enables trainees to become well versed in assessing wheelchair users’ needs and fitting them with appropriate chairs.
What the Community is Saying:
Yohali Burrola, a University of Pittsburgh alum with a master’s degree in physical therapy, describes the value of training wheelchair professionals in less-resourced settings:
“Having the opportunity to train in different countries has made me more aware and empathetic to distinct situations and contexts. And, although there are clear differences between the countries, each time you come back, it reinforces the idea that we are all human beings fighting for better access to health, to equality of rights and increased social participation.”
Chris, a physical therapist who participated in an August 2015 World Health Organization (WHO) wheelchair servicing training program in Manila, said this about the value of having trained professionals provide wheelchair services,
“I hope that after five years, persons with disability in my country will have access to wheelchairs and wheelchair services and that they also are respected by our fellow Filipinos.”
What is ISWP?
The University of Pittsburgh’s Department of Rehabilitation Science and Technology is part of a global consortium of NGOs, the World Health Organization (WHO) and USAID that launched the International Society of Wheelchair Professionals (ISWP) in January 2015. ISWP’s mission is to help professionalize wheelchair services worldwide so that wheelchair users are provided with the technology and training they need. We are accomplishing this by promoting the WHO guidelines on providing wheelchairs in developing countries; promoting training and research activities; improving wheelchair design and manufacturing; and coordinating services.
Thank you very much for your donation and for helping to improve the lives of wheelchair users worldwide!