Monday, 7 October 2013

A Visit to the Welding Workshop

It is the start of a new week and it is already the second week of the placement. With regards to the integration of volunteers, the atmosphere which prevailed last week, where all seemed to be shy and reserved, it seems now that it is dissipating. In fact, topics of conversation multiply and jokes have become common now. A good atmosphere is essential for team work and it seems to be already the case predicting good future professional relationships.   

With regards to the activities in our partner organisation, Handicap Solidaire Burkina (HSB), we have welcomed the new volunteers and informed them about previous work done and continuing activities. In addition to that, we had a meeting with the HSB staff to integrate new volunteers and various activities were assigned to everyone. This week, our main aim is to establish priorities in our activities and establish our programme of action for the next three months that we will spend together. We have already identified the primary needs of our partner organisation and have come up with ideas to start with our work.

Also, we had the chance to visit the HSB welding workshop, which only employs people with disabilities who make and adapt equipment to the specific needs of disabled people.  In this welding workshop, the staff members work in a relaxed atmosphere and use exactly the same professional tools as those used by non-disabled people and without any difficulty. This visit was very emotional as few people with disabilities were present to describe the pain they feel when sitting in their wheelchairs. The welding workshop was receiving that day the visit of an ergo-therapist from Switzerland who diagnosed the cause of their articular pain. He demonstrated the necessity to make and adapt wheelchairs to the specific needs of people with disabilities. Few centimetres or few degrees of inclination of the seat can have a huge impact on the well-being of the person using the wheelchair. This can be either in a positive way through relieving the person from articular pains or in a negative way through the worsening of pain for people who already suffer from exclusion, stigma and poverty in Burkina Faso.

- Alexis

National Volunteer at HSB

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