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PhysioNet and TGA donated mobility scooters deliver life-changing first for disabled Fijians

8th October, 2021

TGA’s latest donation of mobility scooters to PhysioNet have arrived in Fiji, enabling disabled islanders to enjoy moving around their way for the first time. 

At TGA, we care about helping people enjoy independence. Our quality products make a real difference to the lives of people who find walking difficult and we are proud to help associated charities such as PhysioNet. With the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, PhysioNet collects and supplies donated mobility equipment to developing countries and was set up by Philanthropist Peter Thompson in 2005. TGA’s most recently donated scooters to PhysioNet have been shipped 9,000 miles to help people on the islands of Fiji.

Joshco Wakaniyasi, Executive Director, SIA (Fiji) is so grateful of the TGA donation as he says: “Accessible and appropriate transport is, and continues to be, one of the biggest barriers for persons with disabilities in Fiji. This challenge is a barrier to employment and education opportunities, independence, and affordable movement. Over 90% of persons with disabilities in Fiji are reliant on organisations such as the SIA for the provision of mobility aids and appliances.”

“As a first for Fiji, the donation of motorised TGA scooters will go a long way to solving the transportation challenges faced by persons with disabilities. The SIA Fiji board, staff, volunteers and beneficiaries sincerely appreciate PhysioNet UK and TGA helping to expand our Mobility Service Delivery. Thank you and a Big Vinaka Vakalevu. 

Merewalesi Roden and Nafitalai Bai are two of the people that the TGA scooters will help. Before being given a Breeze S3, 54-year-old Merewalesi, known as Mere, was having to spend a third of her income on taxis getting to and from work. As the SIA Office Manager, she has been a paraplegic for 15 years and is a strong advocate of inclusion and equality. Mere represented Fiji in Table Tennis at the 2016 Paralympic Games and now thanks to a scooter can: “build her capacity in championing disability inclusion and mainstreaming” as Joshco says. He adds: “Seeing her smile while trialling the scooter showed her appreciation of the gift of freedom.”

Nafitalai or ‘Nafi’ is the communications officer for the National Council for Persons with Disabilities. He is a quadriplegic wheelchair user whose life has been transformed by the donation of a TGA scooter as he explains: “Because we do not have buses that are accessible, I am forced to catch a taxi to work every day which costs me about $70 a week. That is not taking into consideration the weekends. With this scooter, I’m able to save money and I am more independent than ever. Being confined to a wheelchair for 15 years has been a struggle and to now have a scooter is a game changer. I would like to take this opportunity to thank PhysioNet UK and its partners for this great initiative. You are indeed changing the lives of persons with disabilities!”

Daniel Stone, TGA Managing Director, concludes: “We are delighted to see our scooters helping people on the other side of the world. Thanks to PhysioNet our recycled equipment gets to people who really need it. Giving people their freedom back is what we are all about.”