Having a ride in a 4×4 wheelchair: new prospects for Bulgaria's handicapped children

Taking the kids out in a wheelchair ... and in nature everywhere!Here's an original project initiated in Bulgaria, largely thanks to the Fondation Outward Bound and to the arrival of "all-terrain" wheelchairs manufactured in France. A brand new opening to the wild for these kids, too often deprived of open air activities.

Social and Employment


Antony Zahariev

20,000 € to the Selection Committee at 2010/01/26

Project leader

Fondation Outward Bound

"This project is highly interesting because innovative in Bulgaria.Handicapped children can experience adventures in nature and discover their beautiful country."

Antony Zahariev

A Joëlette is a means of transport, designed and manufactured in France, which has changed the lives of a large number of handicapped persons by enabling them to discover forests, mountains and nature. It's a sort of "all-terrain" wheelchair, equipped with a single wheel and pushed by an assistant. Thanks to this invention developed in 1990s by a company in Saint-Étienne, Bulgarian children will now discover the joys of outings in the wild, regardless - or almost - of the quality of the land. In Bulgaria, handicapped children are still too often trapped in "children's homes", rather sad orphanages, or cloistered in their families, who are stymied by the lack of resources and national programs adapted to their handicaps.

Onward and outward, always more open to others

Developed by Fondation Outward Bound, an organization which has over seventy years experience in the United Kingdom, the USA and some 30 other countries, the Bulgarian project backed by the Veolia Foundation will help these young persons to experience the joys of reaching beyond themselves and opening to the outside world.

Throughtout the year, when the weather is fine, day hikes are organized in the mountains. Every child in a Joëlette will be accompanied by a parent or an assistant and also by a member of Outward Bound and by volunteers. This activity led with respect and tolerance of the differences, give to handicapped children, the opportunity to communicate and to meet people.

The experiment, unique in Bulgaria, will start in spring of 2010. Initiated by Lucile Colmiche, a former doctor installed in Bulgaria since 2006, it will probably put the smile back on the faces of these young people.