An estimated 5 million Ethiopian children and adults have disabilities, 7.6% of the population. Of this group, 1.2 million have lower limb disabilities; yet fewer than 500 wheelchairs are produced annually by Ethiopia's two largest domestic suppliers.

More than 98% of Ethiopian school aged children with disabilities are not attending school. These children suffer from a high incidence of isolation, illiteracy, chronic poverty and social exclusion.

Community based rehabilitation (CBR) organizations in Ethiopia have identified thousands of children who need mobility-related assistance in getting to school, but these organizations lack the capacity to provide resources in proportion to the overwhelming need. Moreover, the push rim and tricycle wheelchairs that are provided to these children are poorly suited for the road conditions in Ethiopia and do not meet the basic needs of the children who are attempting to use them. These wheelchairs, often supplied by foreign sources, suffer premature component failures that are difficult to fix due to lack of replacement parts.

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