According to the World Health Organization (WHO) between 70m and 100m people require wheelchairs worldwide. Of this figure some 80% are living in developing countries. Without a wheelchair, these millions of disabled people in the developing world can’t leave their homes, go to school or find employment. Many feel isolated from their friends and family. Many lose their lives to preventable complications. Most live in extreme poverty. Motivation was setup to overcome this.
In 1989, two Royal College of Art design students – David Constantine and Simon Gue – entered a competition to design a wheelchair suitable for use in developing countries. Robust enough to cope with rough terrain and made from local and affordable materials, their prototype won.
The pair used their prize money to travel to Bangladesh where, along with their friend Richard Frost, they built their wheelchair for a disability organisation in Dhaka. Seeing how an appropriate wheelchair could transform lives so quickly, they needed little convincing when they were asked to help increase production. In 1991, the team raised funds, started their first wheelchair workshop and set up Motivation.
Driving up standards across the wheelchair sector
In 2008, Motivation worked alongside the WHO to publish the ‘Guidelines on the provision of Manual Wheelchairs in less resourced settings’. Aimed at driving up standards across the sector, these guidelines ensure that people don’t just get any wheelchair, they get the right wheelchair, in the right way – essential for health and mobility.
As well as providing WHO training for wheelchair services, Motivation now produces a whole range of high-quality wheelchairs, trikes and supportive seats for use in developing countries.
They also play a part in making sport accessible to all. In 2011, the International Paralympic Committee asked them to design a new low-cost racing wheelchair to launch at the London 2012 Paralympic Games. This ‘Flying Start’ wheelchair, along with their other sports products, has helped to open up the world of sport to thousands of people around the world.
Helping disabled people in 120 countries
26 years on from their first project in Bangladesh, Motivation has touched the lives of disabled people in 120 countries around the globe. David Constantine is a C4/C5 quadriplegic who has always valued the independence his wheelchair gives him. He currently uses a GTM wheelchair that was individually measured for him by our mobility advisors before being constructed.
To read more about David and Motivation, click here.