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Charity appeals for wheelchairs to help needy in Africa

Charity appeals for wheelchairs to help needy in Africa

Justin Burns

Charity appeals for wheelchairs to help needy in Africa
Tatenda, nine, is all smiles after being given a wheelchair

A charity in Old Windsor is appealing for anyone with unwanted wheelchairs to donate them and help needy people in Africa.

Former BA cabin worker Abi Parker has taken eight wheelchairs to Zambia in the last 18 months through her charity Aids Support Awareness Project (ASAP).

But her supply from Wiltshire charity Wheels for Africa has dried up as the charity can no longer get them from the NHS, due to the health service now keeping and repairing old wheelchairs.

She said: "I would love to go out and buy a load of wheelchairs, but unfortunately my charity funds do not stretch that far.

"The hospitals are in a dreadful state in Africa and they are not a priority to the governments."

Abi helped set up and runs ASAP from her Straight Road home, which educates and counsels people about AIDS in remote parts of Africa.

The 49-year-old started taking wheelchairs to Africa 18 months ago after her friend broke his back in a rafting accident in Zimbabwe and saw how difficult it was to get hold of one.

In December she gave one to Tatenda, aged nine, in Zambia, who could not go to school as she was unable to walk the five miles.

Abi said the little girl's life has been changed and she now goes to school every day.

She said: "When I took it to her I was choked by how happy she was.

"There was a disabled man walking on his hands, so I said he is next to get one.

"There are so many people there who need one."

Abi appealed to anyone who may have a wheelchair sitting around in sheds and garages to contact her.

Visit www.asap-africa.org.uk or contact Abi on 01753 851622 or 07833 652289.

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