These 7 women repair wheelchairs every week for the disabled

Madam Maggie Lim repairing an old wheelchair.
PHOTO: The New Paper

From repairing wheelchair brakes to polishing wheelchairs till they look brand new, these seven women are not afraid of getting their hands dirty.

They are volunteers at Mobility Aids Services and Training Centre (MASTC), which repairs and recycles unwanted mobility aids usually donated by hospitals and families of the deceased.

These include wheelchairs, walking frames and crutches.

The repaired equipment is then donated to local charities, which distribute them to the needy, both in Singapore and other countries.

Every Wednesday, the group meets at the centre for about four hours to repair faulty wheelchairs.

Most are housewives.

Madam Maggie Lim, 62, the oldest in the group, has been volunteering at the centre for nine years.

She said: "Helping the disabled is a privilege and I do my best because my work concerns the safety of the next user."

She added that the difficulty in repairing a wheelchair lies in finding and replacing specific parts.

The volunteers learn on the job, with guidance from the centre's founder, Mr Eugene Tan.

Madam Lim said: "There are many types of wheelchairs so we must know what parts are needed to make it work again.

"But I have never felt that my work is tiring because I enjoy it."

Madam Lim was roped into volunteering by Ms Ivy Ng , 51, who has also been a volunteer for nine years.

Ms Ng said: "I had never touched a tool before volunteering here.

"But we help and motivate each other, which makes our time fixing wheelchairs more enjoyable."

Ms Ng hopes to see more younger volunteers at the centre.

AGEING

She said: "While many of us want to do this for as long as we can, age is catching up on us.

"We hope to see some fresh, young faces who do not suffer from backaches."

Mr Tan, 62, called them his "female warriors".

He said: "I have great admiration for this group of women. They are not afraid of hurting themselves and getting their hands dirty."

Mr Tan, who has been volunteering since he was 17, started the centre in 2007.

It is part of the Kampung Senang Charity and Education Foundation and is supported by the Rotary Club of Singapore North.

More than 10,000 wheelchairs have been repaired and sent to the needy, said Mr Tan.

The group also goes to a different housing estate every two months to repair wheelchairs for the elderly living there.

Mr Tan said: "We would not have been able to help this many people if not for these female heroes.

"I am just so thankful to them."

For more information, visit http://kampungsenang.org/wheels-of-hope/mobility-aids/ or call MASTC at 6783-9023 .

krystalc@sph.com.sg


This article was first published on January 22, 2016.
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