Community hub with Wheelchair/Cycle repair center owned by persons with disabilities
Community hub with wheelchair/cycle repair centers along with small refreshment shops will be established in local level by empowering PWDs.
A group photo of beneficiaries after wheelchair distribution program organized by our organization in coordination with local partner in Dang, Nepal.
What problem does your idea solve?
We have been distributing about 1000 wheelchairs every year in different parts of Nepal. However because of the lack of a proper wheelchair repair center in user's locality even a minor mechanical problem arose in wheelchair compels the user to seek a new wheelchair.
We will help interested users to start a wheelchair (with cycle) repair center at their locality by providing them necessary skills and resources. It will not only solve the above problem but will help them economically as well.
Explain your idea
When it comes to contributing something to persons with disabilities, the first thing that any organization or even individual thinks of is distributing wheelchairs.
Our organization in association with our donors have been distributing almost a thousand wheelchairs every year in different part of the country. We do this by following the WHO guideline and completing a proper user assessment test. The wheelchair provided by us have definitely helped persons with disabilities to be mobile in their life.
Nevertheless, there comes certain challenges with wheelchairs. There are not any specific wheelchair repair center locally and most cycle repair shows don't even look at wheelchairs.
Because of this; we will have to focus on providing wheelchairs to the existing users again and again and we will not be able to provide such support to new users in new areas.
So we will identify the interested person with disability (among our past beneficiary) in different part of the country who can contribute some resources himself and help him establish a wheelchair repair shop. And since if they only repair wheelchair their business will be less and since the parts for wheelchair and cycle mostly overlap we will equip them to repair cycle also.
This way, other wheelchairs users in the area can have their wheelchair repaired at this center and the owner, who is a person with disability himself, will be economically independent by running this center.
Our user is Krishna Bahadur. He is a wheelchair user. He has no job and doesn't do any business also. His wheelchair breaks down often and there is not wheelchair repair shop as well.
One day he hears about the wheelchair repairing training in a radio and applies for it.
In the training, he gets technical training on how to repair cycle as well as wheelchairs. He also get training on wheelchair assessment so that he can suggest if someone is using a wheelchair according to their bodily need or not.
Besides he also got some knowledge on doing business and entrepreneurship. He will use everything he learned in the new venture shop he is going to establish.
Krishna has opened a wheelchair cum cycle repair center in the front part of his house. He got a little financial help from the project and a lot of technical skills. In addition to the repair center, he has also started a small grocery shop/refreshment shop which sells water, noodles, tea etc. His wife helps him with the shop. His house is now like a community hub in his village. Other wheelchairs users are also happy to have their wheelchair repaired at Krishna's workshop.
Krishna Bahadur is very happy with the transformation that has happened to his life. He started earning some money and has now looked with pride in his family and village. He can repair cycles of non disabled people, so they have started to look him as equal not less. He also suggest wheelchair users to become independent like him by starting some economic activity. He also does wheelchair assessment test for wheelchair users to see if they are really using the wheelchair their body needs.
A small child is getting a new wheelchair
These are the wheelchairs ready to be distributed. Some have already got their new wheelchairs.
Primary beneficiary will be the users who will show their interest and contribute some resource to establish the center. They will be small business owner after this program.
Other beneficiary will be other wheelchair users in the area who can now easily have their wheelchair repaired.
Other general people will also take slight benefit by having their cycle repair locally.
We are also thinking of starting a local refreshment shop along side repair center, so community be also benefited.
A user of wheelchair/tricycle donated by our organization. Our program will benefit hundreds of people like him to become independent physically and economically.
How is your idea unique?
Our idea is unique because it not only solves the problem of wheelchair maintenance in local level but also make persons with disabilities economically strong. Because of these wheelchair repairing center, wheelchair will last longer and we will not have to worry about giving wheelchairs to same users again and again and focus on new areas and new users.
Since our idea also requires the users to contribute part of resource require themselves, it will make them serious and take ownership of this program. This will also be an unique approach as they will not feel that some NGO is coming and doing this for us as it is the case most of the time.
Our idea of not establishing repairing center ourselves but helping them to start those center will make the persons with disabilities more confident about their life and will serve as an example to the local people as small business owners.
We are also thinking of starting a small refreshment shop along side the repair center which is unique.
Tell us more about you
Our organization is legally registered non profit organization. We have two main programs. Skills development training for persons with disabilities and wheelchair distribution program. Every year we provide trainings like computer, sewing cutting, wheelchair assessment and wheelchair repair to around 70 persons. Also in coordination with local partner, we distribute about 1000 wheelchairs in different parts of Nepal.
A picture from a program organized to distribute wheelchairs and other assistive devices.
What are some of your unanswered questions about the idea?
In our feedback phase, some of our participants said they have never saw someone in a wheelchair doing the repairing himself/herself because it might be hard for them to come down from a wheelchair and start repairing wheelchairs. However, we also saw some wheelchair users (who are our beneficiary) said that if they participate in this program, they can definitely do the repairing themselves.
So we are thinking now if we should only include wheelchairs users as our primary clients for this idea or to expand the list to people having other disabilities, including people with hearing impairment"? This is a question that we are exploring now.
Where will your idea be implemented?
Experience in Implementation Country(ies)
Yes, for more than one year.
Expertise in Sector
I've worked in a sector related to my idea for more than a year.
We are a registered non-profit, charity, NGO, or community-based organization.
Prototyping: I have done some small tests with prospective users to continue developing my idea.
How has your idea changed based on feedback?
We changed the project based on the feedback phase in following ways:
1. We have considered expanding our client circle by not only including wheelchair users as our beneficiary but also those having other kinds of disability. We did this because we found that not all wheelchair users can come down of their chairs to do the repair work.
2. In the technical training that will take place during the inception phase of our project, we will also provide business skills class and wheelchair assessment class to our participants. This is because in our feedback session, participants shared that there is not much business only on repairing center. So we thought of starting a small grocery type store right beside the repairing center so that it will be kind of community hub. The business they learn in training will be useful in this.
3. We will advocate for the employment of our participants in existing cycle repair centers. This will ensure we can provide training to many and get them job
Who will implement this idea?
Our organization will implement this idea. Based on the resource we have we will select the sites where we will establish such community hub with repair centers. At least a full time staff is needed for overall management of this project. The staff will be central contact person and will often travel to these centers to support the idea. Our local partners will help us identify our beneficiaries.
Using a human-centered design approach, you may uncover insights that lead to small or foundational changes to your organization’s existing strategy or processes in order to unlock the potential of your idea. How would your organization go about making such changes?
Our chairman is main executive body of this organization. He can make any level of decision of this organization with just slight consultation with the board. The board is also relatively small and consist of only 7 members. Our chairman is fully committed to this idea, so making changes according to the need of this idea will not be that hard.
What is it that most attracted you to Amplify instead of a more traditional funding model?
Because of Amplify model, we learned about human centered design and also empathetic approach to see our beneficiaries. Also Amplify model provided us some really valuable resource to get the feedback from our users and reflect upon the project design based on those feedback.
What challenges do your end-users face? (1) What is the biggest challenge that your end-users face on a day-to-day, individual level? (2) What is the biggest systems-level challenge that affects your end-users?
1) Biggest individual level challenge is that people using wheelchairs don't have a wheelchair repair center in their locality. Another challenge is that most of people with disabilities are economically deprived because of not being able to participate in economic activity like jobs or business.
2) Biggest system level challenge is that- there is no guideline or proper directive from the government to distribute wheelchairs. It is done randomly by various organization on their own. Because of this; users dont get wheelchairs according to their body structure and also the terrain of the place they live is not provided.
Tell us about your vision for this project: (1) share one sentence about the impact you would like to see from this project in five years and (2) what is the biggest question you need to answer to get there?
IMPACT: By 2022, we aim to establish community 35 hub with wheelchair repair center in all 7 provinces of Nepal (5 in each province) so that each hub will provide direct economic opportunity at least two persons with disabilities and indirect support to many others in the form of cycle/wheelchair repair.
QUESTION: How to we make this idea sustainable and replicable beyond the project funding.
How long have you and your colleagues been working on this idea together?
Between 6 months and 1 year
How many of your team’s paid, full-time staff are currently based in the location where the beneficiaries of your proposed idea live?
Under 5 paid, full-time staff
Is your organization registered in the country you intend to implement your idea in?
We are registered in all countries where we plan to implement.
My organization's operational budget for 2016 was:
If your team/idea/organization has a website, please share the URL below.
We are currently in the process of building a website. You can read about our work here: https://www.ldscharities.org/news/wheelchairs-distribution-nepal