April 2009

In March we reported that we, as a result of our visit to the wheelchair workshop in Mombasa in December 2008, would dedicate ourselves to obtain funds in order to enable APDK to purchase a powder coating machine. The life cycle of the wheelchairs can be extended considerably when using such a machine to obtain a better finish.  It is very important that the life cycle of a wheelchair is prolonged as long as possible, since physically disabled are often only able to acquire a wheelchair once.  The past month we have been discussing with the Dutch Help Aid Organization CORDAID,  who became interested in our wheelchair project. We convinced them of the necessity of purchasing a power coating machine for APDK in Mombasa. A detailed investment plan on the purchase and the use of the powder coating machine has been set up by us. Based on this plan CORDAID agreed to fund our project, so this means the machine can be bought! 

At the moment we are preparing all necessary documents related to the investment. The paperwork will be done via our recently established funding foundation “Foundation for Physically Disabled of Africa”.

We contacted the management of the wheelchair workshop in Mombasa last week. They informed us that they will start preparations for a built-on of the present workshop, where the powder coating machine will be placed. Now this is still an undeveloped piece of land right behind the workshop.  We got the project “rolling” and are excited about this result!!! We will keep you posted on the progress. 

Hennie van Gilst en Pieter Bas Opheij    

March 2009

Recently we established a funding foundation, called “Foundation for Physically Disabled of Africa” (FPDA), in order to obtain funds for our project to finance a powder coating machine for the wheelchair workshop in Mombasa, Kenya. When using a powder coating machine within the production process, the finish of the wheelchairs can be improved considerably. As a result the life cycle is being prolonged and the use by the disabled is extended enormously.  Besides, owing to the sound quality improvement, the wheelchair product line becomes an interesting export product for neighbouring African countries. The competitive price, the robust design and the low transportation costs, enable African Governments and Help Aid Organizations to provide adequate means of transport for their disabled inhabitants. Thus more and more disabled become independent and can participate socially.For the main funding we contacted a leading Dutch Help Aid Organization, which is seriously interested in partnership and funding our project. At the end of March 2009 we will be informed about their final decision on funding. W’ll keep you informed!


December 2008

To get an idea on the progress of the wheelchair project, we (Hennie, Hans, Pieter Bas) as members of our project team visited Kenya at the beginning of December 2008. Departure was on Saturday December 6th, arrival at Mombasa airport around midnight. After a good night’s rest, we met the board members of the project on Sunday December 7th in the afternoon. The next morning (on Monday) they picked us up at the hotel and drove us to the wheelchair workshop in Mombolulu, a district within Mombasa.


When we arrived in Mombolulu, they provided us a warm welcome. On the complex itself there are also a number of manual skill workshops located, where they produce clothes, (hand)bags, little sculptures, domestic utensils etc.  In a special shop all those products are being sold. The money they make on this, is used for the cost of living for the disabled working on the complex.  The set up of the wheelchair workshop we saw in Mombolulu is rather simple. What has been produced is good, but the level of production is rather low.


Better means of production and planning could mean an important improvement. 
During our visit we talked about the necessity of improving the quality of the wheelchair. A good step ahead would be a longer lasting layer of lacquer on the frames of the wheelchair. 

Now they use a spray can to put the lacquer on the metal frames of the wheelchairs. As a result the spraying is time consuming, a lot of lacquer is lost because of the spraying and the layer of lacquer


A possibility to obtain this improvement, is to burn the layer of lacquer into the frame. The lacquer becomes one with the frame and lasts much longer. However the burning of the lacquer into the frame can only be done with a special powder coating machine. The coming months we will investigate how to realize this necessary investment for the wheelchair workshop in Mombolulu, Kenya.  

We keep you informed,  

Hennie van Gilst and Pieter Bas Opheij

October 2008

Research made clear that many wheelchairs are failing to adequately meet the needs of people in developing nations.  Historically, most wheelchair provision has only focused on the product in isolation to the individual who needs it. Their disability, size, lifestyle and environment are rarely considered. Most of these wheelchairs therefore do not meet the user’s needs or provide them with the maximum independence and mobility, and the majority quickly break down in the harsh unpaved environments in which they are used.

In order to accomplish that a wheelchair service is effective, it needs to be comprehensive: so not only make or provide wheelchairs, but also provide assessment and prescription services that can make the difference between someone receiving a good wheelchair and someone developing life-threatening secondary complications such as pressure sores.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) defines an appropriate wheelchair as follows: a wheelchair is appropriate when it meets the user’s needs and environmental conditions; provides proper fit and postural support, is safe and durable; and is available and can be accessed, maintained and sustained in the country at the most economical and affordable price.

The result of our project should be producing special wheelchairs and seating.We have planned a trip to Mombasa to visit the projectboard in the period of 6 till 9 December this year.

We keep you informed,

Pieter Bas Opheij, Hennie van Gilst, Hans Bennis

Start- October 2008

Our MBA programme includes a hands-on, real-life business project that will allow us to develop our professional skills in practice, rather than just in theory.  Our project has been started on August 12th. 

In Kenya there are about 132.000 disabled persons (,4% of the total Kenyan population). Having the right wheelchair can literally change the life of a person with a disability by giving them greater independence, confidence and dignity. A wheelchair is a basic human right and a catalyst for wheelchair users to access their other rights, such as the ability to earn their living or be educated. Below 1% of the need for wheelchairs is being met through local production. Historically, most wheelchair provision has only been focused on the product in isolation to the individual who needs it. Their disability, size, lifestyle and environment are rarely considered. Most of these wheelchairs don’t meet the users need or provide them with the maximum independence and mobility, and the majority quickly break down in the harsh unpaved environments in which they are used. 

Our project will be focused on the Special Seating service department of the existing Mobility Aid Workshop in Mombasa. Our project goal will be building production capacity to meet the needs for appropriate wheelchair service.  

Pieter Bas Opheij, Hennie van Gilst, Hans Bennis