By Florence Afriyie Mensah, GNA
Kumasi, Nov 29, GNA – Ghana’s push towards the promotion of commercial production of bamboo has been given added impetus as two young engineers successfully build a wheelchair from the grass plant.
The prototype was the “star-of-the-show” at the just ended international competition organized in Accra by the Greater Accra Wheelchair and Basketball Team.
The first batch of the bamboo wheelchairs would roll out of the production line, next year, and would be freely distributed to 100 disabled persons.
This would be done in partnership with the Ghana Federation of the Disabled, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
Ms. Marjelle Scheffers, a Dutch, and her Ghanaian counterpart, Eric Asante told the Ghana News Agency (GNA) that they were excited that the dream of creating an assistive device to support the many physically challenged in the country had become a reality.
Scheffers has been working for the Bright Generation Community Foundation (BGCF), and Asante is with the Ghana Bamboo Bikes Initiative (GBBI).
They said the economic benefits of the engineering breakthrough by way of cost and job opportunities would be tremendous.
Ms. Bernice Dapaah, Chief Executive Officer/Founder of the BGCF, said it would help change the situation where many physically challenged persons had been struggling with the lack of access to wheelchairs.
The World Health Organization (WHO), estimates that about 70 million people globally require wheelchairs, which it describes as more than an assistive device.
It adds that it is a means by which they can exercise their human rights, achieve inclusion and equal participation.
However, only between five and 15 per cent of these people have access to wheelchair, something that provides mobility, ensures better health and aids them to live full and active lives in their communities.
Mr. Solomon Owusu-Amankwaa of the BGCF, said “bamboo is rapidly emerging on the top-10 list of the world’s most treasured materials”.
He indicated that no single plant had given humanity so much than bamboo, saying, “When you think of bamboo, think green, think of multi-purpose, highly sustainable resource which holds the key to poverty reduction”.