We are Uhambo, an organization that transforms lives and make opportunity accessible to people with disabilities in rural and underdeveloped parts of Africa.
Our mission and work directly impacts people with disabilities who are vulnerable and, often times, forgotten.
Our name (Uhambo) means "journey" or "travelling forward" in a South African language, Xhosa. And that's exactly what we're doing.We invite you to learn more about our organization. Consider volunteering, donating, or simply spreading the message of Uhambo today. Help us alleviate poverty, promote human rights, and remove barriers for people with disabilities in Africa.
Uhambo engages with strategic partnerships in the U.S. to support the mission and programs of Uhambo, the Shonaquip Foundation of South Africa.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO) approximately 65 million people worldwide require the use of a wheelchair due to a disability. As many as 80% of people who need wheelchairs live in low-income, developing regions, such as Africa. Only a small percentage of those who need a wheelchair have one. An even smaller number lacks access to services and resources that support their disabilities. We serve this population-not only to provide practical solutions (like wheelchairs), but also to provide the services and support that are necessary for a better life.
Not all donated wheelchairs meet WHO’s definition of “appropriate.” But, what does appropriate really mean in this context? According to WHO’s Guidelines on the Provision of Wheelchairs, a wheelchair is appropriate when it:
Imagine having a physical disability. Now imagine using a wheelchair like the one shown to the right. Unsupported sitting without the correct assistive device causes a variety of inconveniences and serious problems such as discomfort, pain, secondary health problems and deformities in the musculoskeletal system.
Wheelchair users, their caregivers, and parents in developing countries seldom receive critical, basic health care information or training to assist users in managing their health, disability, and wheelchairs. Consider purchasing a tool without knowing how to properly use it; the people we serve need chairs and the skills to use it effectively.
Adequate and compelling evidence supporting best practices, economic impact, and improved quality of life as a result of appropriate devices and services needs to be collected in developing countries to inform and influence policy makers and funders so more resources are directed to this vulnerable population
Currently, government policies of many developing countries do not support the rights of this vulnerable population; further, policies that are in place are not put into practice.
An example of an appropriate wheelchair that meets the World Health Organization's Guidelines on the Provision of Wheelchairs in Less Resourced Countries. Appropriate products are designed to delay the development of health complications caused by incorrect positioning. Read how an appropriate chair can change a wheelchair user's life.Interested in learning more? Read WHO's guidelines on appropriate wheelchairs.
We have unique and powerful solutions. Uhambo has 20 years of “on-the-ground” experience in Southern Africa, a passionate commitment to appropriate products, services, and support, and an award-winning social entrepreneurial model. Check out our Awards & Recognitions page.
We know that it takes more than providing these services to reverse this problem. In addition to providing people in need with practical tools and services, Uhambo is committed to improving the social and political issues that are the root of the problem. Here, we also seek to engage in:
Uhambo addresses the problem at every level by providing superior programs that are aligned with the WHO Guidelines.