UCP Wheels for Humanity Launches Rehabilitation Services to Benefit Thousands of Ukrainians

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TEAM project to support rehabilitation of victims of on-going conflict in Ukraine

JSI Research and Training Institute awarded UCP Wheels for Humanity a two-year, up to $2 million grant from USAID's Leahy War Victims Fund to improve rehabilitation support services in Ukraine.

Through the Training, Economic Empowerment, Assistive Technology and Medical/Physical Rehabilitation (TEAM) project, UCP Wheels for Humanity will partner with the Ukrainian Association of Physical Therapists and the National Assembly of People with Disabilities of Ukraine to deliver these services beginning October 2015.

There are an estimated 2.64 million people with disabilities in Ukraine with 14,000 recently added due to the on-going conflict. More than 53,786 registered Internally Displaced People (IDPs) with disabilities in the country need mid-to-long term medical and economic support because of the conflict. Adding to this dire situation is the lack of highly trained rehabilitation professionals in the country and the utilization of ineffective and outdated treatments. People with disabilities face limited options to improve their health and quality of life.

“We’ve been helping Ukrainians with disabilities for almost 20 years,” says Ronald S. Cohen, Ph.D., UCP Wheels Chief Executive Officer. “In addition to providing wheelchairs and trainings, this grant will provide even more vital rehabilitation services for years to come for the thousands of deserving Ukrainian citizens.”

The TEAM project will focus on improving the rehabilitation support services in the country with specialized training for rehabilitation personnel, vocational and business training for IDPs and their families and increased access to the provision of assistive devices. These efforts will enable people with disabilities to live more independent and economically self-sufficient lives.

Rehabilitation professionals including neurologists, urologists, psychologists, physical, occupational, and speech therapists, nurses and social workers will receive specialized trainings with the goal of strengthening or establishing rehabilitation units in hospitals within the country. In addition to increased access to assistive devices such as wheelchairs and other mobility aids, IDPs and their families will receive job skills and business development training so they can attain employment or possess the ability to start a business.

About UCP Wheels for Humanity
A subsidiary of United Cerebral Palsy of Los Angeles, Ventura & Santa Barbara Counties, UCP Wheels for Humanity was founded in 1996 to increase access to mobility for children and adults with physical disabilities who live in developing countries. UCP Wheels provides mobility, therapy and empowerment programs to more than 6,000 adults and children each year and acts as an advocate and capacity-building partner to local organizations, creating sustainable, community-based systems that support long-term change. For more information, visit http://www.ucpwheels.org.

About United Cerebral Palsy of Los Angeles, Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties (UCPLA)
UCPLA operates over 40 program sites throughout five counties in Southern California and has extended its mission to serve all people with developmental disabilities. These programs include adult day activity centers, children’s programs, community living support services, group homes and independent living apartments. UCPLA provides services to over 1,100 children and adults with developmental disabilities daily. For more information on UCPLA visit our website at: http://www.ucpla.org or Facebook page at facebook.com/ucpla.

This publication was produced by UCP Wheels for Humanity, agreement number 0075, through Advancing Partners & Communities (APC), a five-year cooperative agreement funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development under Agreement No. AID-OAA-A-12-00047, beginning October 1, 2012.

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Zahra Nealy

Anthony Ortiz-Luis
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