We are pleased to let all our readers and members know that our first shipment of wheelchairs has now arrived in Odessa, Ukraine. In total we managed to provide 112 new wheelchairs but the people in Ukraine desperately need many more. We need donations so that we can fulfil our commitment and pledge to the disabled people of Ukraine to extend the hand of friendship to help them live a life with dignity and respect, to lead a life with choice and independence. We were fortunate to be invited to meet with the Mayor of Odessa, Gennadiy Trukhanov, when we presented him with two of the shipment of 112 wheelchairs to be distributed to disabled people in Odessa.
While in Odessa we were privileged to meet with two schools for disabled children, two hospitals and a camp that gives respite to disabled children as well as a number of Municipal Government Officers.
Keith and Michael with Mayor of Odessa and Svitlana our guide and interpreter who was so helpful to us in Odessa
Gennadiy Trukhanov, the elected Mayor of Odessa city has generously offered to give Wheelchairs for Ukraine a base and building for our distribution centre in Odessa where we can distribute much needed wheelchairs to disabled people across all Ukraine.
As there are no accessible hotels in Mykolaev Michael had to go to meet with the Depute Governor of the Oblast (Region) of Mykolaev on his own, as Keith was unable to go. Mykolaev is not a wealthy city and has many disabled people who are in desperate need of a wheelchair or other mobility aid. In meeting with the Depute Governor, Oksana Yanishevska, he was able to come to agreements with the Municipal Government of Mykolaev that they will support the work of Wheelchairs for Ukraine 100%, although they have no finances or funding that they can offer us.
On Saturday 30th October Michael and Keith flew from Odessa to Kyiv where we met with the Judith Gough the British Ambassador to Ukraine. The aims of Wheelchairs for Ukraine were explained to the Ambassador who fully supports what we are doing and has offered her assistance whenever necessary. Once we have raised sufficient funds to put the wheelchair and mobility aids project into full operation we will be looking to form another important project to assist children who have been affected by war. When we are in a position to form the ‘Children of War’ project the Ambassador has especially offered her help in getting the necessary visas for the children to enable them to get some respite in Scotland. However, at present our priority must be the wheelchair project.
We will be keeping both the British Ambassador in Ukraine and the Ukrainian Consul in Edinburgh fully informed on the progress of our work and fundraising. At present our most important issue is to raise funds to ensure that the wheelchair and mobility aid project can reach full operation. The average cost of each wheelchair that we send to Ukraine is £140.00 and we aim to build the organisation so that we can ship and distribute at least 10,000 wheelchairs every year.
If you know of anyone who can help please ask them to donate or put them in touch with either the Convener or the Manager.
We desperately need funds for our ‘Wheelchair project’ so please donate by using the donate button on our website www.wheelchairsforukraine.org
On Tuesday 3rd November we met with the Mayor of Kyiv Mr. Vitali Klitschko who is also the ex WBC and WBO World Heavyweight Boxing Champion. Vitali still holds the second best knockout-to-fight ratio of any champion in heavyweight boxing history, after Rocky Marciano.
Vitali Klitschko also holds a PhD in Sports Science from Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv that gained him the nickname of Dr. Iron Fists during his boxing career. Even though Mr. Klitschko is an extremely busy and important man in being head of the Kyiv City State Administration, the capital and largest city in Ukraine (population of over 2.9m people) and the eighth largest city in Europe he, nevertheless, gave us over an hour of his time. Mr. Klitschko was extremely supportive of Wheelchairs for Ukraine and the work that we are doing but probably more importantly the work that we are going to help disabled people in need in Ukraine.
Mr. Klitschko was able to inform us that for the city of Kyiv alone there is a requirement for 145,000 wheelchairs for disabled people who have no means of mobility and there is no mechanism and no funds available by where the government in Ukraine can provide the required wheelchairs, such is the state of the economy in Ukraine for the foreseeable future. He also spoke of the great need to provide access to buildings and improve the infrastructure. Vitali Klitschko was also kind enough to sign three A4 photographs, and have photo’s taken of him signing them for provenance so that we can auction photographs of him at a future fundraising event with prove that it was actually Vitali Klitschko, the famous Dr. Iron Fists, that signed them.
We believe passionately in the right of every Disabled Person throughout the world to live a life with Dignity and Respect with Choice and Independence. In recognition of these basic rights for all Disabled Persons we are committed to doing everything in our power to meeting the basic need of mobility for all Disabled People. In recognition of that belief, we are committed to working tirelessly in reaching out with the hand of International Brotherhood and Friendship to raise funds and provide Wheelchairs and Mobility Aids, free of charge, to those who need. We recognise the incredible need of the forgotten people of Ukraine and are committed to meeting that need of mobility. Having the right and means of Mobility for Disabled People is even more basic than everyone’s right to Clothing, Food and Shelter.
Wheelchairs for Ukraine needs your support to help those in desperate need in Ukraine. If you, any relatives or friends feel that you can give a donation, whether monthly or a one-off donation please either go to our website and click the donate button: www.wheelchairsforukraine.org or contact Michael on 07907 169953 or Keith on 07793 781913.
We can’t do this without YOU!