Last year Joshua Nestler, Tamika Sankar and Kirsty MacLeod , started spending time at the Blue Sky Healing Home, which is an orphanage for children with disabilities. On Saturdays we would look after about 9 children by taking them to the park, drawing, reading books or playing bingo.
This is where we met Zhi Xiong. Zhi Xiong was born with a muscle and joint congenital disorder called arthrogryposis, which was left untreated until now. His severe condition drastically restricted his movement and he therefore depended heavily on others help to move around. Together we have decided to help Zhi Xiong improve his independence by acquiring him an electric wheelchair, so he can move around on his own.
After a lot of communication with doctors and a wheelchair manufacturer, Gehrmeyer, which is located in Germany, we were finally able to obtain a used electric wheelchair from IKK Classik, who was very generous to provide it for free. Thankfully we were able to fund this project with the help of many support and sponsors who, ultimately in the end, made this project possible, especially the company Gehrmeyer, who repaired and customised the wheelchair.
To start our fundraising we set up a stall at the BSB Christmas fair November 2015. Furthermore the BSB Chatterbox was very supportive by donating their profit by selling food and drinks at the BSB production: Return to the Forbidden Planet March 2015. Also we would also like to thank Kuehne+Nagel, Ameco Beijing, and Condor for sponsoring our transport from Germany to Beijing, with a special thank you to Jens Rautenberg for organizing the shipment.
At the end of April, after picking up the wheelchair from the airport, Zhi Xiong was finally able to drive the wheelchair himself carefully maneuvering the joystick. Seeing the beaming smile on his face made this project worthwhile. We are ever grateful for all the sponsors and help we received, which helped us make a difference in someone’s life. Now Zhi Xiong just has to practise driving and getting in and out of the wheelchair by himself.
We have learnt a great deal from this unforgettable experience and can only hope that others will use their CAS as an opportunity to help others, who are less fortunate.
Update from: Year 12 IB CAS student Joshua Nestler, Tamika Sankar and Kirsty MacLeod