The Rotary Club of Colombo West charted in 1961 broke new ground this year when the prestigious club joined hands with the Miss Intercontinental contestants representing 70 countries for a worthy cause.
The need for wheelchairs in Sri Lanka is staggering; it is estimated that over 300,000 people are in dire need of a wheelchair yet lack the resources to obtain one. Already suffering from the pain, isolation and indignity of a physical disability, many of these people must endure further burdens – many are forced to live on the ground or to wait to be carried to meet their most basic of needs.
The causes are many – poverty, disease, malnutrition, armed conflict and lack of proper medical care are all major causes. Poverty, however, is the biggest issue. Without money to seek medical attention simple injuries like broken bones that would be simple to fix in developed countries go untreated. Birth defects tend to be more common and home child delivery is more frequent which can have more complications during childbirth. Factors like access to clean water and a steady, nutritious diet also play a role.
In this context, the Rotary Club of Colombo West has ventured into this area of need by partnering with Beauty Queens from around the world. The club has been able to gain maximum exposure to the cause through this partnership with the Rotary Club of Suncity, Australia supporting it with a donation of 275 wheelchairs.
Rotary Club of Colombo West President Roshan Perera, International Understanding Director Pravir Samarasinghe and PP. Rtn, Jerome Rajendram were present when the wheelchairs were donated along with cash for a group of children and elders.
The significance is the wheelchairs provide mobility and mobility changes everything. Mobility means independence, the ability to participate in society and earn a living. It means dignity, leaving behind the days of living on the ground.