Wheelchair Center in Addis Ababa

Project status: Current major project, ongoing

SimienEcoTours is supporting a wheelchair center located in Addis Ababa and operated by “Addis Guzo” (www.addisguzo.com), a foreign charity organization originally from Switzerland but registered in Ethiopia and working there since June 2012. Western countries have public structures, health insurances and social programs that provide for support and assistance to disabled persons, but Ethiopia has nothing like that in this respect and poor people with limited mobility face many problems. Addis Guzo believes in mobility as a natural and social right and therefore gives access to mobility for persons who are limited due to various reasons. It has at present two similar projects, both entitled ‘Access to Mobility’, one in Addis Ababa and the other in Bishoftu, South of the capital.

The projects hold activities such as delivering wheelchairs (mostly coming from Europe if they are no longer used or do not meet European quality standards) and providing service and maintenance for disabled people who are using wheelchairs. Economic empowerment activities to encourage self sufficiency, social integration and communication and collaboration with stakeholders are other important tasks of the organization. Furthermore Addis Guzo uses participation of people with disabilities addressing crosscutting issues, such as HIV, Gender, Environment Community centered intervention, Technology Transfer Resource mobilizing genuine and meaningful partnerships with the local community.

Since its registration in Ethiopia, Addis Guzo has been addressing mobility needs of the poorest segments of the community. In relation to this activity it has been possible to address already more than 1,000 professional wheelchair service deliveries and more than 1,500 specialized wheelchair maintenance works or repairs. Currently the structure is the only one able to offer professional services for wheelchairs in the city of Addis Ababa which counts an estimated population of 5 million people.

In addition to delivering the above-mentioned activities, 20 people who are living with disabilities were helped through economic empowerment programs and they are trained through a Micro Enterprise project to produce candle and tuaf. The sporting field and the resource center are assumed to serve the active group of people with disabilities and hopes to address the psychosocial needs of the community. Hence sport is a multidimensional aspect of social activity, users will take benefit in many ways from this center. Currently the organization is initiating a sporting group that will take part in the sporting events of the country and create awareness in the community.

On behalf of the charity organization and its donors (listed below) Franziska is in charge to administer and oversee the activities in the center in Addis Ababa and to report to the organization itself. So SimienEcoTours is already collaborating with Addis Guzo, but the organization would like to work in partnership with any other interested party in this regard and assumes that it is vital to encourage collaborations. The most important partnered organizations, which Addis Guzo would like to thank for the constant support, are: the Swiss Federation for Development, DEZA (Direktion für Entwicklung und Zusammenarbeit), Signum Vitae Switzerland, Swiss Lottery, Usitawinetwork Club, Fontana Foundation, Fontes Stiftung, Heilpädagogische Tagesschule Biel, Swiss Rotary Clubs, Barator Stiftung, Kurt-Abraham Stiftung, Amt für Kultur und Sport Solothurn, Stiftung Fons Margarita, S. Eustachius Stiftung, Stiftung Abantu, Stiftung der Gottfried-Keller-Loge and many other individuals.

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The structure in Addis Ababa The interior of the workshop of Addis Guzo
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Repairing chairs in the workshop Finished wheelchair
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The team of the training center Wheelchairs in need of repair
AppleMark AppleMark
Completed wheelchair Chair to learn walking
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Adjusting a wheelchair Happy to be partners
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Smiling in the new wheelchair Another girl made happy
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Child in wheelchair supplied by Addis Guzo Production of candles as micro enterprise program
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Nice wheelchair for children Happy child in traditional clothes
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