By Erica Lee
A combined effort of the Spinal Injury Association (SIA), PhysioNET UK, national and development partners and the diplomatic corps has led to the arrival and clearance of FJD 1.2m worth of much-needed mobility devices for the disability sector in Fiji in February 2021.
The 17th consignment to Fiji sent from the United Kingdom by humanitarian organisation PhysioNET UK contained motorized scooters, a variety of wheelchairs, electronic and manual hospital beds, commodes and other assistive devices and parts.
The Australian Government through the Fiji Women’s Fund (the Fund) supported the cost of freight and handling fees for this consignment. The Fund also funds SIA’s Mobility Service Community Outreach Program and core costs (operations and staffing).
Speaking at the release of the items, Assistant Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation Hon. Veena Bhatnagar said in an era of technology, assistive devices enable persons living with disabilities to explore their full potential and live a life of fulfillment.
“Assistive devices play a crucial role in achieving normalcy in the lives of people living with disabilities. However, the sad reality is that these devices are extremely costly to source although, through partnerships and collaborative efforts we can help disability communities reach their full potential and today is a celebration of that.”
Background information on SIA
The Spinal Injury Association of Fiji (SIA) is a disability organisation under the umbrella of the Fiji Disabled Peoples Federation. SIA improves the lives of people living with a physical impairment in Fiji through services including provision of mobility equipment, employment schemes, and advocating for the rights of disabled people. They are the main providers of mobility devices for persons living with mobility disabilities in Fiji.