Project #5030

Provide All Terrain Wheelchairs in Haiti

by The Red Thread Promise
Diana, first wheelchair recipient at St. Vincent
Diana, first wheelchair recipient at St. Vincent's

The Red Thread Promise team would like to thank you for the impact you have made on the lives of people with disabilities. Since the earthquake in 2010, we have successfully delivered over 100 All Terrain Wheelchairs to people in Haiti and couldn't have done this without your support. 

Our team continue to raise funds to fill another shipping container with ATWs, specialty wheelchairs, medical supplies and other necessities for our Haitian brothers and sisters at St. Vincent's Center for Handicapped Children in Port-au-Prince and surrounding areas.

We encourage you to follow The Red Thread on Facebook and our blog for updates as we move closer and closer to our goal.



Independence is a precious gift, especially to people with disabilities. Each time The Red Thread Promise gives an All Terrain Wheelchair (ATW) to an impoverished child, teen or adult in Haiti, we shift the paradigm from immobility toward mobility. Through these gifts—gifts that you have made possible—lives are being changed. 

In the US and other countries, many resources are available for people who can't walk:

  • quality medical care and treatment
  • insurance policies and governmental programs to offset costs 
  • readily available manual wheelchairs
  • wheelchair-accessible vehicles and public transportation
  • facilities with wide doors, railings, ramps and elevators
  • solid infrastructure with smooth streets and sidewalks  

These opportunities give a wheelchair-bound person the chance to actively engage in life, moving about in their homes, schools and communities.

The scenario is quite different for a person under the same circumstances in a developing country like Haiti:

  • limited quality medical care is extremely costly with no subsidy 
  • lack of infrastructure—dirt roads, sand, rocky surfaces—makes passage in a standard wheelchair nearly impossible
  • wheelchairs that perform well on rough terrain are financially out of reach for most Haitians, often costing more than 6 years wages* 

But there is hope! 

We are committed to raising the funds for another full container of wheelchairs that will change more lives. Each shipment holds 100 - 120 ATWs plus maintenance parts. These durable wheelchairs are made from inexpensive bicycle parts that keep the cost low—$350 each—and simplify upkeep and maintenance. They are specifically designed to pass over Haiti's rough terrain, giving independence that most recipients have never experienced.

With your support, we will fill this container and continue giving the gift of mobility to those in need. 

*The gross national income per capita in Haiti is US$660. Source: World Bank 2010

Robert outside his home in Haiti
Robert outside his home in Haiti

Recently, we were approached by GOOD Magazine to be featured in their publication dedicated to mobility issues. The article below about our International Mobility Program—providing all terrain wheelchairs to people in need—just hit the internet earlier this week. Below is the article that was published.

Empowering People With Disabilities

Robert was an accomplished welder and farmer in Gramothe, Haiti before 2010. He is married and has two sons, one of which hopes to become an engineer. However, Robert has a progressive condition that is causing him to lose the ability to use his legs. He has been immobile for quite some time and the doctor has not given him a prognosis.

In Haiti, the streets are uneven and bumpy, rendering “hospital-style” wheelchairs virtually useless. In the mountains, where Robert and the majority of Haitians live, dirt roads and rocky footpaths are common. However, The Red Thread Promise makes it possible for people like Robert to become more independent by providing them with all terrain wheelchairs through our International Mobility Program (IMP). In fact, Robert is hopeful to return to welding since receiving his new wheelchair.

During our first trip to Haiti in 2009, we had no intention of starting IMP. But when we observed that hospital-style wheelchairs were not meeting the needs of those using them, it compelled us to seek out the best all terrain wheelchairs available. We worked directly with a manufacturer to keep costs low while providing quality chairs specifically designed and built to traverse rugged terrain. Our chairs feature strong frames, flexible suspension, and wide front wheels especially for sand, rock and uneven surfaces.

In June 2011, we delivered a full shipment of 100 wheelchairs to St. Vincent’s Center for Handicapped Children in Port-au-Prince. Our team worked directly with the center to identify candidates for distribution, assemble the chairs, and provide maintenance training to our Haitian partners. Now, The Red Thread Promise is working to bring mobility to 100 additional people in and around Port-au-Prince as well as local businesses and hotels that are not accessible.

These gifts of mobility give people with disabilities (PWDs) more opportunities to fully engage in life. They promote better self and family care, and help recipients actively participate in educational and economic opportunities. Children can attend school with their peers, acquiring life skills that help them become independent adults. Teens and adults are better able to engage in meaningful work, providing financial stability to their families. Independence increases each individual’s sense of self-worth and self-respect in their home countries.

Ultimately, our goal is to bring communities together, where everyone is viewed with dignity. We not only provide wheelchairs for individuals in need, but also model respectful and inclusive behavior toward people with disabilities. The Red Thread Promise actively discusses discrimination issues with Haitian businesses, governmental entities and other NGOs working in Haiti, encouraging the implementation of anti-discrimination strategies in Haitian society since 2009. Fortunately, on March 13, 2012, the Haitian Senate passed the Law on the Integration of Disabled Persons, which was the first of its kind in the country.

In July 2013, we will be bringing 50 PWDs to a beach resort in Montrious, Haiti for summer camp. Our team has been working with hotel management to build wheelchair ramps and widen doorways for wheelchair access into all areas of the resort. Management has even requested several of our all terrain wheelchairs for use with future guests.

We will continue to work in Haiti and other countries providing mobility for years to come. However, in order to offer a long-term impact, especially to our current program in Haiti, we’d love your support. Help us empower PWDs by giving them the opportunity to be more mobile and independent.

The steep Haitian mountains
The steep Haitian mountains
Streets of Port-au-Prince
Streets of Port-au-Prince
Yolene's old wheelchair
Yolene's bright smile in a new chair


Sonya and Moise
Sonya and Moise

With every day that passes, we are one step closer to funding another full container of All Terrain Wheelchairs (ATWs). Week by week, the details begin to fall into place; important details like finding an in-country storage space as well as executing upgrades for the next shipment.

We are pleased to announce that St. Vincent’s Center for Handicapped Children (Port-au-Prince, Haiti) has once again agreed to serve as our storage and distribution point for the next container. Safely storing and securing 100 – 120 wheelchairs in the heart of Port-au-Prince is no small task and we are very appreciative of our partners at St. Vincent’s for their cooperation. They truly understand the importance of these chairs and getting them into the hands of people with disabilities in their country.

As for the wheelchairs themselves, we are constantly improving their structure and functionality based on the input of current ATW recipients. Working directly with the manufacturer, two of the biggest improvements for the next shipment will be airless tires and sealable pockets to secure personal items.

Airless tires are the biggest upgrade on the new chairs. The intense Haitian heat often makes the interior rubber tubes brittle, causing cracks and leaks. This type of tire will eliminate flat tubes, improving the durability of the tires themselves, while also eliminating the need for pumps or tire patches.

With your support, we will be able to fill that shipping container and bring the gift of mobility to Haiti again. Thank you!

one of our All Terrain Wheelchairs
one of our All Terrain Wheelchairs

While it may be an unlikely name for a report, it couldn't be more true for The Red Thread Promise. We are 1/5th of way to funding a full container of All Terrain Wheelchairs (ATWs) for Haiti and we couldn't be more thrilled! A full container holds 100 - 120 ATWs (depending on the wheelchair sizes specified) which is our goal for Haiti. This comes at a total price of $45,000—approximately $350 per chair—which, in the world of specialty wheelchairs, is extremely reasonable. It is your generosity that has helped us come this far and your continued support that will allow us to completely fund a full container—a container that will change the lives of many Haitians with disabilities, like Diana, one of our first wheelchair recipients. Please consider sharing this project with your co-workers, friends and family as we can make a difference together!

little Diana
little Diana

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Organization Information

The Red Thread Promise

Location: Havertown, PA - USA
Website: http:/​/​​
The Red Thread Promise
Project Leader:
Kathy Korge Albergate
New Orleans, LA United States

Funded Project!

Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.

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