Wheelchairs at special prices

At Nouakchott, the association Solhandi has resumed the operation of a workshop to produce and repair medical equipment. A commitment so that the handicapped persons of the region can acquire equipment which they generally cannot afford.

Social and Employment

Nouakchott, Mauritania

Paul Berretrot

9000 € to the Selection Committee at 2006/05/23
  Project leader Solhandi

Backed by the Mauritanian government alongside the WHO and Unesco, this workshop has every reason to run smoothly. Especially since it meets obvious needs: in Mauritania, where 80% of the population live below the poverty threshold, handicapped persons have a hard time acquiring orthopedic equipment which enables them to live a “normal” life”.

Paul Berretrot

At least 300 to 400 euros excluding tax, the price of wheelchairs for handicapped persons is high, especially if one adds frequent maintenance, as for any other vehicle. In Africa, and precisely in Mauritania, where 80% of the persons live below the poverty threshold and where wheelchairs have to withstand conditions that are really tough for their mechanics, this cost becomes exorbitant, in fact simply inaccessible.
The association Solhandi, created by Jean-Paul Gardette, a former engineer of Renault Véhicule Industriel who became a paraplegic after an accident, has set the objective of helping handicapped persons of the poorest countries to acquire the medical and orthopedic equipment they need.

An undeniable service that creates jobs

In Nouakchott, the capital, Solhandi has decided to resume the operation of a workshop for reconditioning and manufacturing equipment for handicapped persons (initially opened by Handicap International), alongside a local NGO, Association pour le Développement Social en Mauritanie. The aim is to develop the manufacture of tricycles and wheelchairs, by consolidating this activity economically, while guaranteeing affordable prices for the local population. To achieve this, Solhandi is creating four jobs and integrating a handicapped worker in its organizational structure.
The new workshop managed to recover a good share of the tools of the old one, and will now be installed in premises provided by the Mauritanian government. Yet investments are nevertheless indispensable to make up for the launch expenses (additional equipment) and to guarantee trouble-free economic startup. The backing of Veolia foundation comes in a grant of 9000 euros, so that the handicapped persons of the area of Nouakchott can live their lives—nearly—like their neighbors.