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The DAISY PROJECT and BethanyKids: the opportunity to embrace the life given to us.

Three children in a line helping each other move forward. The first 2 are wheelchair users
Photo credit: BethanyKids

“Each and every one of us is born different, but each and every one of us deserves the opportunity to embrace the life given to us.

About the Author.

Tim Woolnough joined GDI Hub as an engineering intern, supporting the DAISY Project. In this blog, he writes about his visit to Kenya last year. Tim went to find out more about the delivery of wheelchair services and school environments, which was part of his familiarisation and introduction to the DAISY Project.

He spent some time with the BethanyKids Assistive Technology community outreach team based in Thika, Nairobi to learn about their work, learn about the environment they work in, and to try to align the vision of the DAISY Project with the needs of the targeted individuals.

Tim Woolnough:

“After jumping through countless hoops set in front of me by our new world of travel restrictions, I have had the incredible opportunity to stay in Kenya working on a solar-powered micro maize milling machine. Maize milling has little to do with assistive technology, however to round out my trip I had the genuine pleasure of joining BethanyKids at Joytown Special Primary School for children with physical challenges. BK is a humblingly welcoming team working with kids, school staff and parents streaming in from throughout Kenya to provide life changing assistance through physical therapy and Assistive Technology.”

“BethanyKids is a Christian mission transforming the lives of African children with surgical conditions and disabilities through paediatric surgery, rehabilitation, public education, spiritual ministry and training health professionals. I learnt how they adapt standard wheelchairs to optimally suit their clients – adjusting heights, widths & lengths to fit any shape of child, drilling new holes to provide additional supports or a set of brakes, and I was absolutely blown away by the cutting-edge foam forming technology they use, shaping a chair so the client to suit any client.”

The team from BethanyKids working on a wheelchair
Photo credit: BethanyKids

“I was struck by the strength of the relationships built both between the students themselves – so naturally and easily helping each other move around or supporting each other when stopping for a while, all the while chatting or smiling together – and between the students and staff – constantly hearing names called with a smile and an inside joke for each child, every single one of them cherished for themselves, irrespective of their reason for being there.”

“These forming years of our lives, though time that these days we can scarcely remember, are dubbed forming years for a reason. Social interactions and the autonomy & mobility to explore the world around us have a huge impact on our development into adults. The importance of these years has inspired the vision of the DAISY Project. We want to shape a world where every single person has a chance to grow up living in a socially engaged world, free to interact with the people around them.”

A child is pushing another child in a wheelchair
Photo credit: BethanyKids

“Throughout the upcoming year I am thrilled to be working alongside Tim Adlam & GDI Hub to begin building a foundation for the development of a powered mobility device for exactly this kind of setting; one which can stand the bullying from heat, dust, dirt, endless potholes, the prevalence of nails & lack of consistently sized bolts, and every other challenge we can think of. But one which a child born into a country without any outstretched helping hands can access. One which will change their lives.”

“I would like to say a massive thank you to BethanyKids both for their enthusiasm to teach me about their work, but also their willingness to assist and advise as I took measurements and photographs which will form an essential basis as we begin to specify design requirements based on this first-hand knowledge for the DAISY Project.”

“Each and every one of us is born different, but each and every one of us deserves the opportunity to embrace the life given to us. I absolutely cannot wait to play my part making that happen and see the smile on that first face sitting on a DAISY Project wheelchair – pictures like that aren’t ones you ever forget.”