Beth Sheehan

Beth Sheehan is an accredited exercise physiologist (AEP) with a special interest in amputees and children with disabilities. Beth has worked in Malawi, Africa in a prosthetic and orthotic setting service. As an exercise physiologist she utilises exercise to assist in empowering people to move in a variety of ways to increase their activities of daily living, independence and quality of life.

Support Motivation Australia and help us to do more!

Motivation Australia is a not for profit disability and development organisation that works in partnership with local organisations to enhance the quality of life of people with mobility disabilities in the Asia Pacific region, including rural and remote Australia.

Our vision is of a world that promotes everyone’s right to mobility and inclusion.

Our mission is to enhance the quality of life of people with mobility disabilities in the Asia Pacific Region.

Our focus

Access to mobility – The provision of an appropriate mobility device essentially creates opportunities for people with a mobility disability that otherwise would not be there. For this reason, our work addresses the essential elements of effective mobility device provision.

Quality of life – We recognise that achieving ‘quality of life’ means more than access to mobility. Our work therefore includes addressing the key building blocks that help contribute to quality of life including survival, health, rehabilitation, empowerment and inclusion. We also recognise that in some contexts, a broader perspective is more appropriate and cost effective.

This is particularly the case in many of the small island nations in the Pacific Region. In these contexts, Motivation Australia has begun to work across different disability groups, addressing a broader range of assistive devices.

Motivation Australia is committed to gradually building our expertise and undertaking activities across different disability groups, on specific projects where the benefits are clearly articulated.

Meet Phillip

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Phillip received a wheelchair through a training programme Motivation Australia carried out in Fiji, in partnership with the Spinal Injuries Association.

After receiving his new wheelchair, which replaced a broken orthopaedic style chair that did not meet his needs, Phillip, who has cerebral palsy said: “I can now sit upright, I can move myself around”.

With an estimated 150,000 people in the Pacific Region alone who need a mobility device – Motivation Australia has a lot more work ahead!


Join us

Join us in helping to enhance the quality of life of  people with a mobility disability.

Motivation Australia highly values the contributions of our supporters and members – made up of people who support our vision.

Become a supporter – Join our mailing list today; and receive quarterly updates about our activities. See the application form on the back of this flyer. We promise not to bombard you with too many emails!! Send an email to Kate Shortt to join our mailing list today!

Become a member – Benefits of membership include regular Motivation updates, an opportunity to participate through volunteering in a range of capacities, and having a say in decision making at our Annual General Meetings.

Download an application form here or complete our online process here.

Any individual over the age of 18 who donates $40 or more to Motivation Australia is eligible for membership. Annual renewal is a donation of $40 or more at the beginning of each calendar year.

Make a donation – You can also make a donation to Motivation Australia here. Funds raised through the Australian public help us to match funds provided by the Australian Government through their Non-Government Cooperation Programme.

New Prosthetics and Orthotics service in Samoa

Group photo of MDS staff

The Samoan National Health Service’s Mobility Device Service (MDS) will take another big step forward in the New Year with the much anticipated launch of Prosthetics and Orthotics services!

The end of November saw a surge of activity with the delivery of the eagerly awaited Australian Aid funded Prosthetic and Orthotic tools and equipment, along with a consignment of donated and purchased devices and materials from Australian suppliers. The MDS team and Project Manager Ray Mines were joined by two engineers from Otto Bock / Jos America, who worked hard over four days to install the delivered equipment.

Samoan man holding a prosthetic legThe equipment was immediately put to good use as MA held a week’s training on the use of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) prosthetic technology in the Pacific context. The polypropylene prosthetic technology made by the ICRC is the most tried and tested low cost prosthetic components for less resourced settings.

The training facilitated the MDS’s two Prosthetists Janus and Posenai, along with fellow Prosthetist Orthotists Akoaki and Tebakaro from Kiribati’s Tungaru Rehabilitation Service (TRS), to build on and share their experiences of the ICRC technology with the MDS bench technicians. With the support of Australian PO volunteer Richard, and MA’s Lee and Katrina, the team worked together to fabricate Samoa’s first prosthetic limbs!



The busy times for the MDS continued the week after training with a visit from Australian and Samoan Government officials, including Australia’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, Julie Bishop.

The activities will culminate with the official launch of the MDS’s Prosthetic
and Orthotic Services scheduled for the 4th of January 2017.

Samoan man walking with his new prostheses for the first timeMA would like to acknowledge Australian Aid for the funding of the tools and equipment and thank Ossur Australia, Law Comfort, Algeos and OAPL for the donation of various prosthetic and orthotic materials and devices. Thank you also to the LDS Chruch Charities who funded Posenai’s training in Cambodia, and ISPO Australia who funded the I-Kiribati participants travel to and accommodation in Samoa.


WDDAT Tigray

Motivation Australia is currently partnering with the Women with Disabilities and Development Association of Tigray (WDDAT). WDDAT empowers their members through practical initiatives and by advocating for policy change. WDDAT works with over 500 women, as well as members who are parents of children with disabilities.

People from the mountainous northern province of Tigray in Ethiopia, are known for their tenacity and resilience. Although they have experienced challenges from a legacy of war, poor health, education and social services, they have demonstrated a capacity to turn small opportunities into life-changing situations.

A recent visit by Helen Pitt and Kerry Thomas (part of Motivation Australia’s Tigray team) provided an opportunity to visit rural branches and carry out home visits with some of WDDAT’s members. This gave the team a fantastic opportunity to meet and listen to the stories of the lived experience of women with a disability in Tigray. One participant noted: “We can be strong and independent if given an opportunity… like the micro-credit loan, and help in accessing services and mobility equipment”.

Along with the rural and home visits, a four day workshop was facilitated to enable staff and member representatives to reflect on progress, share experience and plan for the future of WDDAT. The workshop utilised a participatory ‘action-learning, action-planning’ approach that employed a range of strategies to ensure participants of all ages and abilities had the opportunity to be fully engaged.

In reflecting on the process, participants commented:

“We have never been involved in such a workshop that allowed us to participate and share our knowledge and views”

“We have learnt so much and will take this back to our Branches to share with other members”

“Having a visual summary of our plan is really helpful”

“We have gained much more confidence and self-esteem and we can now approach authorities to discuss issues that concern us”.

For more information about our work in Tigray, contact Kylie Mines.

Reducing diabetic related amputation in Tonga

The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that 50% of hospital admissions and amputations as a result of diabetes can be prevented with appropriate foot care. This includes early identification of foot problems, wound management, the offloading of foot ulcers to promote healing and the promotion of lifestyle changes.

Building on our successful work in Samoa implementing a Diabetic Foot Clinic in partnership with the National Health Service, in 2017 Motivation Australia will be partnering with the National Diabetes Centre (NDC) of the Ministry of Health in Tonga. As part of the rapid assessment and project design for establishing Mobility Device Services (30th November – 7th December 2016), Motivation Australia also met with the staff of the NDC to explore how we can best support them in their work.

The NDC is the focal point for efforts in improving the health of Tongans with diabetes. It is a well attended centre, with an active staff of nurses, the country’s only Podiatrist and a doctor running clinics every week day. It’s easy to see how the treatment of secondary complications of diabetes, such as eye and foot care could be integrated under the same roof alongside general diabetes management and health promotion. Of course many challenges remain in meeting MOH’s goal of universal health coverage for all, not least of all providing services for the 30% of Tongans who don’t live on the main Island of Tongatapu. Motivation Australia looks forward to working with the NDC team in 2017!

Our current work in Tonga is funded by the Australian Government. For more information, contact Kylie Mines

Mobility device services in Tonga

Motivation Australia was recently invited by the Ministry of Health (MOH) to carry out a rapid assessment and detailed project design for Mobility Device Services to be established by the Government of the Kingdom of Tonga with funding from the Australian Government.

Motivation Australia has previously worked in Tonga, including carrying out a mobility device feasibility study in 2011, and provision of basic level wheelchair service training in 2012. Through those activities, basic level wheelchair provision was introduced at the Vaiola Hospital.

This visit was an opportunity to gauge the current status of the provision of walking aids, wheelchairs, prosthetics, orthotics; and develop a plan for establishing a consistent, sustainable mobility device service under the Ministry of Health. Our team met with senior personnel at Vaiola Hospital, MOH physiotherapists, mobility technicians and senior nursing personnel. We also met with the Tongan Disability Task Force convened by the Ministry of Internal Affairs, and with the National Disabled Persons Organisation Naunau ‘o e ‘Alamaite Tonga Association (NATA) and their members who are users of mobility devices.

We are delighted to be working again in Tonga, and look forward to building a strong relationship with all stakeholders, to assist in ensuring that people with a mobility disability are able to consistently access appropriate mobility devices through trained Tongan personnel.

For more information, contact Kylie Mines

DFC Research Summary

Earlier this year Marjolein Wiegman, from the University of Twente in the Netherlands joined Motivation Australia as an intern to undertake research into the ‘Costs and benefits of the Diabetic Foot Clinic in Samoa’.

The research demonstrated that care provided by the Diabetic Foot Clinic (DFC) cost 8 times less when compared to inpatient treatment at Apia’s Tupua Tamasese Meaole (TTM) Hospital. It also resulted in significantly improved outcomes for clients – DFC clients were more likely to heal their ulcers, prevent infection and avoid amputations.


Savings would increase and more people would benefit if the capacity of the service was expanded and Samoans were able to access treatment earlier, at services closer to their communities.

Results: A dedicated DFC both reduces costs and improves outcomes when compared to acute care, hospital admission and amputation. It is hoped that these findings can be used to encourage the establishment of more multi-disciplinary Diabetic Foot Care services within Samoa and throughout the Pacific.

Thank you to Marjolein Wiegman of the University of Twente and the personnel and clients of the NHS, particularly the Diabetic Foot Clinic, for their assistance.

Read more about the results of the research on Katrina McGrath’s Devpolicy Blog. You can also download the Research Summary.






Walking Aids Training Package

Motivation Australia’s Walking Aid Training Package (WATP) is aimed at increasing safe and effective provision of walking aids by hospital and community based health, rehabilitation and community workers.

By the end of the training participants should have more knowledge about how to:

  • Assess the needs of a person who may benefit from a walking aid
  • Select an appropriate walking aid for a user, considering their environment and physical needs
  • Fit an appropriate walking aid to a user and teach them how to use it safely
  • Follow up a walking aid user and provide any necessary adjustments, maintenance or additional user training

If you would like to purchase a printed copy of the WATP package, please contact Kate Shortt.

If you would like to download an e-copy of the WATP, please fill out your details below. Once you click ‘submit’ you will be re-directed to a page with links to the WATP files.



Kylie Mines

Kylie qualified as an Occupational Therapist in Adelaide, in 1989, and has always had a strong interest in wheelchair provision and supportive seating. Kylie began working in international development in Lithuania in 1991; and joined the Motivation Charitable Trust in 1993 to establish a national wheelchair service network in Cambodia. That first project with Motivation led to seven years of programme work, living and working in Cambodia, Russia, Lithuania, Albania, Romania, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.

In 2000 Kylie returned to live in South Australia to start a family – however was unwilling to sever the links with Motivation and international development. After working as a short term consultant for the Motivation Charitable Trust on a range of projects; Kylie founded Motivation Australia in 2007.

As well as building Motivation Australia, Kylie has worked as a consultant for the World Health Organisation (WHO). Through this work she contributed to the development of the WHO Guidelines on the Provision of Manual Wheelchairs in Less Resourced Settings, and is the co-editor of the WHO Wheelchair Service Training Package (Basic and Intermediate modules).

Role: Kylie is Motivation Australia’s CEO, and also holds a position on the Board of Governors. Kylie is responsible for overall direction and approach; developing partnerships; and inputs into programmes with a focus on training and education tools; policy development; monitoring and evaluation.

What do you enjoy about working with Motivation Australia? Through Motivation Australia I have been able to continue working in a sector that I feel incredibly passionate about – and build a team of people who are just as keen as I am to see people who need an appropriate mobility device get one. I love that my work is now taking me to countries that are in my ‘home’ Region. I love working alongside our neighbours in the Pacific; and am learning all the time.

Connect with Kylie on LinkedIn.

Ray Mines

Ray is an Industrial Designer and Project Manager who has been working in developing countries since joining Motivation in the UK in 1996. He has designed, built, adapted and fitted wheelchairs and seating systems, as well as delivered training and capacity building in a wide range of cross cultural situations. To date he has undertaken assignments in more than thirty countries in Eastern Europe, Asia, Africa and the Pacific including remote communities in Australia. Ray has a BSc Industrial Design (Hons) Degree from Brunel University, UK (1990-94) and a Kepner – Tregoe Project Management Certificate (2001).

Role: As Director of Design & Innovation, Ray delivers product design, visual communication & brand image, strategic planning, programme design, training development & delivery, staff mentoring and in-country capacity building. Ray is the Project Manager for two of Motivation Australia’s programmes: the Samoa Integrated Mobility Device Service (SIMDES) project and the Regional Amputation Prevention (RAP) project

What do you enjoy about working with Motivation Australia? What I personally value about what we do is the inspiring people that we meet; I carry their incredible stories with me. I see our work supporting people with disabilities to overcome seemingly insurmountable challenges every day, this is the fire in my belly, and this is the very essence of what Motivation Australia exists for.

Connect with Ray on LinkedIn.