Former Keter plastics executives turn their expertise into a humanitarian project to help millions of disabled children in developing countries get to school.
Virtually every household in Israel has a few Keter brand plastic chairs, so why not use a similar seat as a base for lightweight, inexpensive but sturdy kid-friendly wheelchairs?
After 30 years as a Keter executive, Pablo Kaplan decided to do just that. With his life partner and former coworker, Chava Rotshtein, in 2009 Kaplan founded the nonprofit Wheelchairs of Hope.
The couple aims to provide colorful, maintenance-free wheelchairs to the estimated five million children in the world who cannot attend school because of mobility handicaps. Central and South America, Africa, Asia and other Middle East countries are target markets.
“Our wheelchair is specifically designed for children, as we wish to empower education through mobility,” Kaplan and Rotshtein explain. “Mobility from early childhood is a gate to education. By giving access to education we create a new generation with better skills, confidence and hope.”
Last September, the Wheelchairs of Hope founders presented their idea at the opening day of the United Nations General Assembly and were selected to serve on UNICEF’s task force for assistive technologies.
“The task force’s goal is to identify novel technologies to recommend to all member countries,” Kaplan tells ISRAEL21c. “Our product was chosen as one of those innovations.”
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