Tajikistan: Production of Wheelchairs at Wheelchair Workshop “Dilshod” is Completed! Distribution has Started.

Manufacturing Wheelchairs that Suit Each User’s Disability and Living Environment

In order to promote social participation among persons with disabilities (PWDs) in Tajikistan by increasing their access to wheelchairs, AAR Japan has been supporting the one and only wheelchair workshop in the country, “Dilshod”, since October 2011.
AAR Japan sent Mr. Hiroyuki MINAMI, a wheelchair expert who is capable of single-handedly managing everything from design to production of wheelchairs, on 3 different occasions to Tajikistan. With his cooperation, we have taught staff members at Dilshod how to properly conduct preliminary research on those who wish to have wheelchairs, and also provided hands-on-training on practical wheelchair production techniques. Up until now, Dilshod had not taken into consideration the physical conditions of the users nor their living environment when producing wheelchairs. However, now under Mr. MINAMI’s guidance, Dilshod has begun to incorporate innovative ideas such as designing wheelchairs that are resistant to vibration so that users could move smoothly on unpaved roads, or flattening the edges of the wheelchairs where there is direct body contact and adding cushions, so that the users do not feel fatigue or pain even after being seated for long hours.

June 13th, 2012 – Staff members of Dilshod intently watch wheelchair expert Mr. Hiroyuki MINAMI’s work (left row center) (pictured in the far back in the right row is Noriko ANDO of AAR Japan Tokyo Headquarters office.)

There are five types of wheelchairs currently produced at Dilshod: a 3-wheel type that comes in sizes of SS, S, M, L, and a 4-wheel type in size S. The wheelchair is produced after the size has been adjusted to the figure of the user. During distribution, minor adjustments are made, for instance, placing a belt at the chest or waist level for a user who has difficulty in maintaining his or her position for long hours, or adding a seat cushion so that the body weight could be dispersed. Mr. MINAMI has guided the workshop staff members so that they are able to continue making such proper adjustments by themselves in the future.

By June 2012, 21 wheelchairs had been completed. As the first distribution, 13 of them were delivered to Vakhsh, Kurgantube, and Bokhtar in the western part of Tajikistan, between June 18th and 25th.

“We want to take him to many places in his wheelchair”
Tiloberdiev Muzafar (29 years old) suffers from cerebral palsy, in which his body is physically disabled. He can manage to walk a short distance with assistance and a handrail, but for the danger of stumbling, he has wished to use a wheelchair. Because he is very thin, two layers of cushioning were placed at the front of his wheelchair, which allows him to support his thighs and prevent slipping, while reducing the burden on his hipbone. His family said to us, “Tiloberdiev often spends time sitting under the grapevine trellis outside the front door every day. His sister used to own a hand-pedal wheelchair which they shared, but it got too old and eventually broke. We are extremely happy to receive a new wheelchair. We want to take advantage of the wheelchair and take him around to many different places.” Tiloberdiev looked very happy as he waved back at his neighbors who spoke to him; he showed us a bright smile too.

June 18th, 2012 – Tiloverdiev Muzafar, who has difficulty moving due to cerebral palsy. We saw a scar on the back of his hand from when he fell before. When he sat on the wheelchair, his face beamed with joy. (Vakhsh)

“The wheelchair will let me move more easily. Thank you”
Zohidova Muharama (12 years old) often stayed home all day and only went out when she had to go to the hospital. Since she didn’t have a wheelchair, she had to be carried by her family members, which became more and more difficult to do so as she grew older. Zohidova’s mother said, “Now that she has a wheelchair, it will be easier for her to move around and we would like to take her to many places. We are truly thankful for the support from AAR Japan and the people in Japan.” Despite being a shy girl, Zohidova smiled to us and said, “Spasibo (meaning “Thank you” in Russian).”

June 19th, 2012 – Zohidova Muharama also suffers from cerebral palsy. On this day, she sat in a wheelchair for the first time. (Kurgantube)

Production and Distribution of 100 Wheelchairs will Continue until the End of October

Mr. MINAMI is planning his fourth visit this September to monitor how the distributed wheelchairs are being used and adjust them if necessary. He will also further provide training to the staff members to improve the techniques of wheelchair production.
Wheelchair factory “Dilshod” aims to complete the production of 100 wheelchairs, including those that were distributed this time around, by the end of October, and deliver 90 of them to families with PWDs and 10 to Hissar Boarding School. Hissar Boarding School currently houses 296 children with disabilities aged from 7 to 17 years old, and AAR Japan has supported this school by repairing its roofs and greenhouse. The 10 wheelchairs that we are planning to provide will be used by the children to move on campus or inside their dormitory. The wheelchairs are 4-wheel type with 2 small wheels in the front that allow small turns even indoors.

June 18th, 2012 – Pictured above are the 3-wheel type wheelchairs that will be distributed to families with PWDs. We will deliver them to those who are in need.

These efforts are being carried out with Grant Assistance for Japanese NGO Projects from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in addition to your thoughtful donations.

Tokyo Headquarters office: Noriko ANDO
After working as a nurse at a university hospital, she witnessed the problems of victims of unexploded ordnance in Laos, where she was assigned as a Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteer. After returning to Japan, she once again worked as a nurse before joining AAR Japan, where she hopes to support the social participation among persons with disabilities. She has been in charge of the Tajikistan project at the Tokyo Headquarters office since February 2012. (Born in Gifu Prefecture)