Pursuing the kind of aid only AAR could giveAfter the typhoon struck, there was no survey carried out to confirm the safety or conditions of PWDs in the above target areas. At that point, AAR stepped in, going door-to-door and documenting where PWDs lived and what kind of disabilities they had to ensure that nobody was left out from receiving emergency relief. In total, we collected information from 5,687 PWDs, and submitted the compiled data to local government units. In addition, AAR provided food and other relief goods to households with PWDs. During the goods distribution and door-to-door survey, we discovered that many PWDs in the target areas had lost their wheelchairs - their only means of transportation - due to the typhoon and tsunami. Moreover, governmental support for PWDs is still insufficient in the Philippines, and discrimination is a very real issue. As a result, PWDs are more likely to seclude themselves in their homes.
Providing tailored “legs”In response to the plight that PWDs faced in the Philippines after the typhoon, AAR provided 40 wheelchairs and 27 walkers to PWDs with mobility difficulties in Tacloban and Palo, Leyte. To the PWDs, these wheelchairs and walkers are their “legs”. Therefore, it was essential to ensure that the type and size fitted each individual. Together with a Filipino wheelchair specialist organization, AAR had a “measuring session” to measure the length of each individual’s legs and assess their balance and posture. A “fitting session” followed, in which we adjusted the wheelchairs and had PWDs practice using them. Once we ensured the adjustments and correct usage, the wheelchairs were distributed. Afterwards, AAR continued to provide comprehensive support by conducting “follow-ups” to check if any of PWDs were having difficulties using their wheelchairs.
|At the “measuring session”. In order to provide wheelchairs that fit each individual perfectly, we measured the legs of the PWDs one by one. (May 24th, 2014, Palo)|
|At the “fitting session”. The PWDs and their families practiced going up and down stairs in wheelchairs. (July 21st, 2014, Tacloban)|
Going to the beach, drawing pictures . . . wheelchairs enabling dreams
|Yuu's (left) range of activities has widened, and her dreams have expanded. Next to her is AAR's Kazuya OMURO (right). (October 28th, 2014, Tacloban)|
|Crystal used to spend a lot of time lying down. Now, thanks to her customized wheelchair, she is able to sit up (December 2nd, 2014, Palo).|