The Parents' Guidance Centre (PGC), REAKGONA, Gelukspan District Hospital, is making a difference. Located in rural North West Province, and operating under the umbrella of Government Health Services, the Centre has many challenges as they service the severely disadvantaged communities of Ngaka Modiri Molema District. Fortunately NNM management support for PGC programs has grown, making quality service-delivery a greater reality for communities accessing Gelukspan.

PGC Customized Wheelchair Solutions, an NGO linked to the rehab programme for children with Cerebral Palsy and other developmental disabilities, was founded with the purpose of adding to the services being offered through the Government Health Services. Regular wheelchair maintenance expands the life span of wheelchairs and instills responsibility in the users.

The physiotherapist with resident technical assistant, Boikanyo Morobe (aka Bra Search!), find cost-effective solutions for problems relating to assistive devices, especially wheelchairs, addressing maintenance needs and the lack of resources and supplies.

Government wheelchairs seldom fit well. The project customizes, repairs and maintains wheelchairs for, and with, the user and helps restore the dignity of that user. Bra helps children with seating adjustments, specialized brake systems, walking aids and properly fi tting chairs. He is also involved in maintaining, repairing and adjusting the GBT Mongoose wheelchair basketball team's chairs, who have qualified for the SuperSports 2011 Series!

The rural area is a big challenge with some centres just turning people away. Well-maintained and fi tted wheelchairs provide the mobility to travel into town instead of going hungry. One specialty of the workshop is the provision of prone wheelchairs, supporting wound care and counselling/support programs rendered by the hospital, for pressure wound healing. A number of life-threatening pressure sores have improved or healed.

Electric wheelchairs need lots of care and regular, sometimes expensive, repairs. Bra Search is currently the only person in the North West Province offering competent repairs and maintenance to electric wheelchairs. Thanks to good support and regular visits to CE Mobility and MedOp even complicated problems are being addressed.

Bra and his team are avid readers of Rolling Inspiration and are determined to assist their clients in removing barriers, reaching potential and breaking the vicious cycle of self-pity and dependency.

"We realize a great difference between what is possible for some of South Africans (those in the cities have access to health and rehabilitation services, money and probably the education to know what they need) and what is needed for others, living in poverty, in the rural villages far away from the ticking watches and bright street lamps of cities like Jo'burg. But we know, that anywhere in the world, the difference is made by commitment, compassion and competency. Those three Cs are not limited to urban areas!"

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