Disabled child in special wheelchair 370.
(photo credit: Courtesy Chimes)
Chimes, an NGO whose goal is to develop and provide innovative services to
individuals with special needs, recently launched a new campaign aimed at
collecting donations to help fund a special electronic wheelchair for children
with disabilities who are treated in their center in Modi’in.
special chairs, which are maneuvered with the hands and head, require the
children to undergo special training in order to learn how to use
Today, the Health Ministry, which possess some of these chairs, has
created a program in which a disabled child can borrow the chair for six months
through organizations like Chimes. During that half-year, Chimes helps him learn
how to operate it, enabling the child to practice regularly with an occupational
After the lending period is over, however, kids have to return
the borrowed wheelchair so that the next child in line can begin their
To be eligible to receive such a chair permanently, children
are required to pass a test that shows they know how to use it.
of such an electronic wheelchair is up to NIS 70,000, which most families cannot
Chimes launched the campaign with the goal of purchasing their
own chair, so kids in their specialized center will be able to rotate in using
it and not have to return it after six months.
Ravit Shahar Lahav, an
occupational therapist working at Chimes’s Or Center Habilitation Day Care,
Kindergarten and Special Education School for Children with Developmental Delays
in Modi’in, explained that the half-year period can often be too short for a
child to master the use of the chair.
Shahar Lahav has been working for
the past few months with six-year-old Ido, who suffers from Cerebral Palsy, and
said that while he has made great progress in operating the chair, she is not
sure whether his skills will be developed enough to pass the required
“What the Health Ministry is doing is a very good project, I have
no complaints about that, but it is quite a short lending period,” she told The
“I see this chair as very important. The subject of
independence in mobility is a basic right,” she added. “When I work with Ido, I
can tell he is happy when we take him to use the chair. Sometimes, we will tell
him to be careful not to bump into the wall and we started seeing him doing it
anyway, on purpose, because it is amusing to him, which makes me smile. I think
it says a lot about the progress he has made.”
“This chair [serves as]
these kids’ legs and it is definitely difficult for them when they have to give
it back,” she continued.
“This chair is very expensive, and we can’t
purchase it for Chimes’s Or Center, so we are trying to collect donations in
order to buy one for our kids,” Chimes Israel executive director Jorge
Zimmermann explained. “To do that we are using the ‘Will to Wheel’ page on
Facebook and contacting some private donors we are in touch with.”
very important to train the kids to use it so they can pass the Health
Ministry’s evaluation. We help them do that with the professionals and with the
facilities and space to do so,” he added.
“Going to the test without
training is like taking a driving test without taking driving
According to Chimes, four children are currently waiting to use
the chair, which sometimes has to go to other organizations who are above it on
the waiting list.
So far, the Will to Wheel page has managed to collect
about half of the cost of the device.