What we do
Just Wheels works in Tabora region in Tanzania to reduce poverty and hardship for people with mobility issues. We do this in a range of ways:
- Providing locally made, well-fitted wheelchairs and tricycles to people with mobility issues. Crucially we continue to support the maintenance of the wheelchair.
- Providing essential physiotherapy to wheelchair recipients.
- Creating an education fund to which wheelchair users can apply to enable them to access school or vocational training.
- Providing empowerment training.
- Providing wellbeing opportunities including a sports club for disabled people.
FOR THE DISABLED COMMUNITY
- Developing a Mobility Centre in Tabora which will include a wheelchair workshop, physiotherapy clinic, production workshop which employs disabled people and training. This will operate as a social enterprise.
- Working with schools and vocational training colleges to enable disabled people to get education and training. Currently, this is not available for most disabled people.
- Working to give disabled people more status.
Often disabled people are kept in the background and have no voice or status. Just Wheels can help people with physical disabilities find their voice, take part, get involved, speak up for wheelchair users, and become a productive part of their community. We give hope in motion.
Providing the right equipment
We aim to supply people with mobility issues with a well-fitted, good quality wheelchair or tricycle, along with the physiotherapy advice they need to improve their physical health.
Where possible we get equipment made locally. In any case, getting the right wheelchair or tricycle is the most important factor of all. It must be well fitted, well made (to World Health Organisation guidelines) and have support before and after from properly trained staff.
Working with partner organisations and local communities
Just Wheels works with the government, local partner organisations and communities in Tabora region in Tanzania. Currently, there are no wheelchair services in Tabora region. The area is home to over 2 million people, at least 10,000 of whom have mobility impairments. Just wheels identify people who need support through the government, local partners and through our staff. We use criteria to ensure we reach the poorest and most in need.
We then assess the individual’s needs and build a relationship with them and their families. A wheelchair will be made to fit their needs in our local workshop. They will then get a programme of physiotherapy and maintenance. They will also be supported into education or training, where possible. We work with a range of partner organisations who work in this field who provide expertise, experience and support.
”Based on vision of our founder and the principle aim of Just Wheels we devoted in running a wheelchair service which is center based model. Running a wheelchair service to maximum efficiency involves analysis of each steps in services and observe how each steps is taking for improving the efficiency of the service as described on WHO (World Health Organization) for appropriate wheelchair provision, that is best for user health and mobility thus enables them to access education, work and employment this means changing lives from incapability to capabilty.
Just Wheels focus in meeting the demand directly by providing wheelchairs and tricycle to the people with physical disability. Also improving the supply by raising the quality of wheelchair and tricycles being made or bought, thus ensure adequate support is provided and follow-up after user receives the wheelchair or tricycle, increase number of trained personnel in wheelchair provision, supporting local disabled people and disabled people organizations lobbying for improved services.
We are strongly establish and develop partnership with other organizations and stakeholders who running and support wheelchair service delivery in order to Just Wheels being hope for motion.”
Meet the team
Just Wheels was started by Emma Burtles. Emma is based in Scotland but has worked in Tanzania. She has been involved in supporting a wheelchair workshop there for over 25 years and has a deep understanding of the importance of that work. Coincidentally she now has a disabled son who uses a wheelchair, which made Emma even more aware of the importance of a good-quality, well-fitted set of wheels to enable a person with disabilities to participate in society.
Francis Emmanuel is a Physiotherapist working for the Tanzanian government and now working also for Just Wheels. He trained in Dar Es Salaam and has a lot of experience working with people with physical disabilities. He has done various courses specialising in the fitting of wheelchairs and in the support of wheelchair users and their families.
He has been working with Just Wheels for a year, helping to develop the organisation in Tanzania including working on systems and financial management, networking and creating good partnerships.
Edwin has been disabled since he had polio as a child. He feels lucky that he was chosen to be taught welding when he was 20 years old as so many disabled people are not given such opportunities. He then went on to learn how to fit and make wheelchairs, undertaking a variety of courses including a 6 month course in the UK and many courses in Tanzania. He is highly skilled and makes wheelchairs of a very hight standard. He works with many organisations that support people with disabilities.
Just Wheels UK Board