US foundation donates 320 wheelchairs to Vietnamese disabled

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The US-based nonprofit Wheelchair Foundation and US veterans began distributing over 300 wheelchairs to disabled people in Vietnam on Monday.

A press release by the US-based charity, the East Meets West Foundation, said the wheelchairs will support sports programs for the disabled as well as individuals with disabilities.

The 320 wheelchairs will wind up in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Hai Phong, Can Tho; as well as within the following provinces: Quang Ninh and Thanh Hoa in the north; Quang Tri, Hue and Quang Nam in the central region; and Dong Nai in the south.

A handover ceremony took place Monday at Tan Binh Sports and Culture Center in Ho Chi Minh City, where the city's Paralympic Association is based.

A total of 260 standard wheelchairs will go to individuals for daily travel and 60 sports wheelchairs will be distributed to disabled athletes participating in basketball, tennis, badminton and table tennis.

All the wheelchairs are designed for rough conditions typical in developing countries, said representatives from the foundation.

The sports wheelchairs are provided in partnership with East Meets West's INSPIRE Sports program, which aims to strengthen a network of sports clubs for more people with disabilities in the country.

Vu The Phiet, Vice Chairman and General Secretary of Vietnam Paralympic Association which has sent Vietnamese teams to international and regional Games for the disabled, said at the ceremony there are more than 5.3 million people with disabilities in Vietnam.

"Many of them are poor and lack opportunities to reach out to social activities, due to lack of mobility."

The Wheelchair Foundation was established in 2000 and has given away 913,000 wheelchairs to disadvantaged people in 150 countries and territories worldwide.

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