King’s wheelchair initiative brings hope to CP patients

King’s Academy students put their weekends to good use this month when they travelled to different cities in Jordan to deliver over 100 wheelchairs to children and adults afflicted with cerebral palsy (CP).

Faculty Member and event organizer Rana Matar chaperoned the group on their trips to Shobak, Karak, Ajloun, Jerash and Amman as part of Kursi wa Kitab (Chair & Book), the Round Square initiative launched by King’s. In addition to raising awareness about the needs of CP children in the country, the project aims to provide patients with conductive therapy and education through collaboration with Hungary’s Peto Institute.

“When our students visited different centers in Jordan and interviewed families [afflicted with CP], they realized the severity of Jordan’s current lack of resources,” Matar said. “They immediately knew something needed to be done to help out.”

The Jordanian armed forces transported the wheelchairs (donated by two non-profit organizations – Heart of Mercy and the Bible Society), which were dropped off at Nadi al Ibda’ (the Creativity Club), a center for disadvantaged youth started by Hussam Tarawneh (father of the late Ahmad Tarawneh ’10).

Students from International Amman Academy (IAA) were also in attendance and helped assemble the wheelchairs (some of which went to Syrian refugees) before distribution.

Matar has plans to start a pilot program this summer through which IAA students can join forces with King’s on future wheelchair projects that will also support patients with Parkinson’s disease and multiple sclerosis.

“Over 20,000 Jordanians have been diagnosed with CP to date,” Matar said. “The King’s Academy mission stresses the importance of leadership in our community. This experience has not only opened our students’ eyes, but it has changed them. And it will change the lives of others.”