Children’s wheelchair clinic: Tonga

Motivation Australia recently worked with the Mango Tree Rehabilitation Centre in Tonga to mentor staff through a seating clinic; providing wheelchairs for children with more complex needs. The focus of the clinic was to further develop the knowledge and skills of a technician, and an Australian volunteer physiotherapist working at the Mango Tree.



Mobility Solutions Symposium

Motivation Australia, the First People’s Disability Network (Australia) and The Bob Hawke Prime Ministerial Centre worked together to draw stakeholders together for the first Symposium addressing the mobility needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island People. Wheelchair users, clinicians, suppliers, non-government organisations and government organisations presented the current challenges that many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island People face in accessing an appropriate wheelchair, as defined by the World Health Organisation.




In November 2008 Motivation Australia carried out a technical feasibility study in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. We were invited to undertake the study by Caritas Germany and Karina KAS (Caritas Indonesia) to inform the planning of a programme to address the provision…

Kiribati Fire Update

Late last year, the building of our partner in Kiribati – the Tungaru Rehabilitation Service (TRS) had burnt to the ground. Since that time, Motivation Australia has been working closely with TRS to offer what assistance we can. TRS have moved their service to a temporary location; and requested assistance to re-stock their tools, equipment and materials to enable them to continue proving a low tech orthotics service; basic and intermediate wheelchair provision; and their physiotherapy programme. Motivation Australia secured funds through the Church of the Latter Day Saints, Rotary and private donors – to purchase hand and power tools, materials for wheelchair modifications, prosthetic repair and orthotics fabrication. The International Society for Prosthetics and Orthotics have helped considerably in sourcing this equipment, and procuring donations in kind from Australian suppliers. Together – we have been able to help TRS on the slow path to recovery.


The Kingdom of Tonga: Basic Wheelchair Training

Basic level wheelchair training was held in the Kingdom of Tonga in November for participants from Tongatapu and the Outer Island Groups of Ha’apai and Vava’u. The training was made up of a clinical training section – incorporating the WHO Wheelchair Service Training (basic level) course material; and a technical training section, which focused on the skills needed to assemble, adjust, maintain and repair wheelchairs.



Exploring the NDIS in Aboriginal Communities: FaHCSIA grant success

On Monday 3rd December the federal government announced the successful recipients of FaHCSIA’s Practical Design Fund. We are pleased to announce that Motivation Australia have been successful and will receive a grant to carry out a project in East Arnhem Land in partnership with ARDS (Aboriginal Resource Development Service) and local groups. This is the beginning of an exploration for Motivation Australia and our partners into what the NDIS will mean for Indigenous Australians with disabilities.


Fiji’s first WHO training course

2012: June saw Fiji National University (FNU) school of physiotherapy students and lecturers participate in Fiji’s first WHO Wheelchair Service Provision (basic) training course. The WHO training package focuses on developing the skills and knowledge of personnel involved in wheelchair service provision for adults and children who have a mobility disability – but can sit upright without additional postural support.



Kiribati Tungaru Rehabilitation Service Fire

Motivation Australia staff were shocked to hear this week that the building of our partner in Kiribati Tungaru Rehabilitation Service (TRS) had burnt to the ground. Fortunately no one was injured, but all tools, machinery and mobility products were lost.

Our thoughts are with the TRS staff who will now begin the slow process of rebuilding their service again from nothing.


WHO Wheelchair Service Training Package (basic level)

The WHO has just launched the WHO Wheelchair Service Training Package (basic level). This training package is the first in a series that is focused on developing the skills and knowledge of personnel involved in wheelchair services around the world. Motivation Australia is closely involved in the development of the training with CEO Kylie Mines coordinating the working group. She is also the Co-Editor of the package along with Chapal Khasnabis from the Disability and Rehabilitation team at WHO.


Timor-Leste Children’s Wheelchair Clinic

Last month saw Motivation Australia complete a mentoring and support visit to work with the team at ASSERT in Dili, Timor-Leste. Last year ASSERT participated in piloting the World Health Organisation’s intermediate level Wheelchair Service Provision training course. Since then, ASSERT have been working with children and adults who need additional support to sit upright in their wheelchair.


Samoa Feasibility Study

Motivaton Australia and the National Disablity Council of Samoa (NOLA) recently carried out a feasibility study in Samoa – to explore the existing wheelchair and prosthetic services currently available in Samoa.

As for many Pacific Island countries, the study identified a lack of appropriate wheelchairs and an absence of wheelchair services.



Partnership in Haiti

Motivation Australia was pleased to be involved in a Motivation project in Haiti, in conjunction with Handicap International and Healing Hands for Haiti.

Healing Hands for Haiti’s rehabilitation centre was destroyed in the 2010 earthquake, and since then they have taken over a temporary site in conjunction with Handicap International. Together they have been providing clinical and technical services for Orthotics, Prosthetics, therapeutic programs and wheelchair and seating services.



Solomon Islands: Access to Mobility

The Solomon Islands are situated North East of Australia and made up of nearly 1,000 islands spread across thousands of kilometres of Ocean. The UN ranks the Solomon Islands on its list of Least Developed Nations. There are approximately 5,000 people who need a wheelchair in the Solomon Islands, most living in rural areas with limited access to roads. The remoteness and isolation of each island community makes the establishment of rehabilitation services for people with a disability very challenging.

In 2009 Motivation Australia established a pilot wheelchair service in the capital Honiara. In 2010 Motivation Australia launched the Access to Mobility programme, building on our successful partnership with the Community Based Rehabilitation (CBR) Unit of the National Rehabilitation Hospital to extend wheelchair services to five provinces. Our partners would also like to increase the focus on gender equity and explore the reasons why more men have been able to access the pilot service than women.



WHO Wheelchair Service Delivery Pilot: Timor-Leste

Motivation Australia and ASSERT joined together to pilot the World Health Organisation Wheelchair Service Delivery Training Package in July 2011. Two Motivation Australia consultants delivered the intermediate module for 16 ASSERT staff. Ten wheelchair users participated in the practical sessions,…

Island perspective: wheelchair provision in Kiribati

You are never far from the Pacific Ocean in Kiribati (pronounced Kiribas). In places the capital, South Tarawa, is only as wide as the road you’re standing on (which also happens to be the only road).

Kiribati is a Micronesian nation consisting of 32 coral atolls and one island, spread over an enormous area of the tropical Pacific Ocean. Kiribati is listed as one of the Least Developed Countries by the UN. It’s a fragile environment; unable to sustain much diversity of food (which leads to widespread diabetes) and extremely low lying making it one of the first nations likely to disappear when sea levels rise due to climate change.

Communication and transport are both problematic and can cause significant delays. It’s also a particularly difficult environment in which to be a wheelchair user; rough and sandy ground, no accessible buildings, salt water corrosion and torrential downpours.