Since 11th till 18th of May for the third year in a raw the Canadian delegation consisting of representatives of the Knights of Columbus, led by Bishop Bryan Bayda Church, accompanied by representatives of Caritas Ukraine and local Caritas organizations transported free wheelchairs, crutches, walkers and sticks to those who need them most.
The action was held in Lviv, Zhovkva, Kyiv, Fastiv, Dnipropetrovsk, Zaporizhzhia, Kharkiv, Kramatorsk, Krivy Rih and Dneprodzerzhinsk. There were delivered 280 wheelchairs, 60 supporting sticks, 200 crutches and 50 walkers in a total.
“Today our country provides a minimal amount of wheelchairs for people in need. Thousands of people (it is important to mention that 15% of Ukraine’s population are people with disabilities) are rejected by society. These people have no access to medical or educational services; they cannot provide by themselves their living conditions; they do not attend public institutions or cultural institutions, in other words, they cannot accomplish their basic rights and needs. That is why the humanitarian aid from Canadian benefactors is very necessary and important, “- said Liudmyla Suhariova, special needs case manager in Caritas Ukraine.
“Usually we get wheelchairs from the Department of Social Protection. Although they have slightly uncomfortable depreciation, we are very grateful, for many people cannot leave their houses because of the lack of wheelchairs. We’ve been waiting so much for these new wheelchairs! I am so much obliged to Knights of Columbus and Caritas for help, “- said Anna, one of those who had luck to receive it. Then she added that one wheelchair per person is not enough. It wears out with time and every 2 years it should be changed. Some of gifted vehicles benefactors delivered to people in need by themselves.
Volodymyr is suffering from rheumatoid arthritis. It has started when he was three years old. Now he graduated distance learning program in Forestry and Wood Technology University as ecologist. Also he learned English. Iryna appealed for help to Caritas, when she was retired. She suffers from diabetes. She cannot walk after fall, because gangrene affected her leg. Now a wheelchair helps her to move at least in her apartment. Another recipient is Stepan who is eight years after stroke. A wheelchair from Canada helped him to be more active. Yevhen is suffering from multiple sclerosis for more than 20 years. For five years he cannot walk and is very grateful for a wheelchair.
Benefactors were warmly welcomed in every house they’ve visited. Bishop Bryan Bayda said that Lord speaks to us with a help of people with disabilities, and we have an opportunity to be merciful, to help them, and to be thankful for God’s gifts to us.
The project “Wheelchairs for People with Disabilities” was launched in 2014 in Ukraine Caritas. It was a charitable initiative of the Knights of Columbus of British Columbia (Canada) and supported by the Canadian Wheelchair Foundation. Since, Canadian benefactors donated 1,120 wheelchairs, 60 supporting sticks, 200 crutches, and 50 walkers to Ukrainians with special needs. In 2015, local branches of Caritas provided for the needy 280 wheelchairs in Lviv, Stryi Brody, Ivano-Frankivsk, Ternopil, and Kolomiya. A year earlier regional organizations of Caritas provided wheelchairs for over 560 needy people with disabilities throughout Ukraine: Lviv, Drohobych, Boryslav, Truskavets, Stryi and Sambor, Bila Tserkva, Fastiv, and also Volyn’, Zhytomyr, Chernihiv, Cherkasy and Vinnytsia regions.