Archive for April, 2011|Monthly archive page
Whirlwind Wheelchair International is a non-profit social enterprise dedicated to improving the lives of people with disabilities in the developing world while promoting sustainable local economic development in the process. We work to make it possible for every person in the developing world who needs a wheelchair to obtain one that will lead to maximum personal independence and integration into society. By giving wheelchair riders a central role in all aspects of our designs and projects we ensure that our chairs are appropriate for their real lives in their real environments. For thirty years in over 40 countries we have focused on producing durable, low-cost, and highly functional wheelchairs. These chairs give riders the reliable and functional mobility they need to reach their full potential. Our active adult wheelchair design, the RoughRider is used by 25,000 riders traveling over every terrain imaginable from muddy village paths to rough pot-holed urban streets.
In partnership with our wheelchair buyers, Whirlwind provided 3,000 RoughRiders in 2008 and 3,500 in 2009. These chairs were produced through our network of regional, quality-certified manufacturers, which currently can produce 12,000 RoughRidersTM per year. Small wheelchair shops across the developing world produced many more Whirlwind chairs under our public domain licensing program.
Whirlwind headquarters is located on the San Francisco State University campus as part of the Institute for Civic and Community Engagement. Whirlwind is a tax-deductible 501(3)(c) non-profit operating under the umbrella of the University Corporation San Francisco State. [Source]
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For more information, and in greater detail, on the RoughRider by Whirlwind, and to find out how you can help by donating a chair today, visit http://whirlwindwheelchair.org/wwi/pages/roughrider.html.
The new Americans with disabilities Act guidelines have been shaking up the industry, and this particular news story demonstrates that perfectly — if a bit on the extreme side, but new and different nonetheless.
Most people who require the aid of a service animal use dogs. In some cases trained assistance monkeys have been used, but assistance dogs are the “norm”. But new federal guidelines in ADA also permit the use miniature horses!
Currently, five miniature horses serve as assistance animals to the blind.
The article mentions some of the benefits and some of the difficulties of using minis as assistance animals, such as, they don’t attract fleas but they do get other parasites like ticks. A mini is about the size of a Newfoundland dog so physically they aren’t larger than a dog, but they do require more physical space for living, a stall, and an environment in which they can move about and interaction with other horses. Both a dog and a mini can be houstrained, though dogs are fed and walked a couple of times a day whereas horses eat hay and grass and produce waste all through the day. Minis can be fed grass and hay in the form of pellets, though experts cautiuon that this can cause ulcers.
Overall, the choice to use a miniature horse as a service or guide animal is probably not going to be something that everyone opts for, and experts don’t believe that this is going to be a sudden trend that individuals in need of service animals will rush out to join. Though a few experts are worried that some individuals may rush into choosing a mini for a service animal and then leave them homeless if things don’t work out.
You can read the full Washington Post article here.
The article also introduces you to Michigan State University student Mona Ramouni and her miniature guide horsel, Cali. Ramouni chose to use a mini because of her family’s devout Muslim upbringing which consider dogs to be unclean. Ramouni has pushed hard for the acceptance of using miniature horses as service/guide animals, petitioning the Department of Justice to include minis in the new ADA law.
If you’d like to know more about Ramouni and her mini Cali, a blog has been set up to document their lives together, at http://www.theeyesofmona.blogspot.com.
Associated Press. “Miniature Horse Is Lone Exception to Dog in Federal Law Governing Service Animals for Disabled.” The Washington Post. Associated Press, 31 Mar. 2011. Web. 04 Apr. 2011.