Monday, 28 April 2014

A Welding Workshop That's One of a Kind

How quickly time flies. This week has seemed very short - probably because it was shorter than usual. As Monday was Easter Monday no one was at work, meaning we had to crack on with the week on Tuesday to make up for lost time! 

We’ve had a serious admin week, sorting out emails, email servers, donor, sponsor and partner databases and social networks. It doesn’t make for a very interesting blog post, but it’s all incredibly useful stuff. Our project plan is now finalised, and we have all the tools in our belt necessary for a successful placement. 

We lent a hand at Espace Bambino on Thursday morning, where the introduction of playdough was the cause of much joy. Friday was taken up with ICT training for HSB staff.

The highlight of our week was Thursday afternoon’s visit to HSB’s Welding Workshop or Atelier de Soudure. 

The Welding Workshop is entirely staffed by people with disabilities. There are seven members in the team, and each has a different specialism. It is one of a kind in West Africa as the only workshop to manufacture wheelchairs. Amongst other things, they make tricycles, and adapt motorbikes and scooters for use by people living with disabilities. The workshop benefitted from training provided by HSB’s partner, Handicap Solidaire Suisse.

Souleymane, the workshop manager, explained to us the importance of adapting wheelchairs to the needs of the user, taking into account their height, weight, environment,  activities and tasks. It is best, Souleymane told us, for the user to be involved in the making of his or her wheelchair. The workshop is now manufacturing wheelchairs in accordance with the new World Health Organisation guidelines. 

Between November and January, the workshop manufactured 400 wheelchairs in just 75 days! 

We took some time to interview each of the guys who work at the workshop, and gather some information and photos for the website, as we will be creating a web page for the workshop and marketing its products. 

It was a truly interesting visit, and we’re looking forward to returning on another fact-finding mission. Look out for a new and improved page on the HSB website. 

Nindaré (until next time)!


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