MEMBERS of the Spinal Injuries Association are thankful for Vodafone Fiji Foundation World of Difference's gift of over $1.2million worth of assistive devices.
The assistive devices included wheelchairs, beds, mattresses, plastic crutches and various other mobility devices for members of the SIA.
A special wheelchair was decorated with gold wrapping and ribbons marking the 1100th wheelchair donated to Fiji from UK-based company PhysioNet UK, which has a motto of helping the disabled.
British deputy High Commissioner Dan Salter said the inception of PhysioNet UK in 2005 enabled the organisation to provide specialist equipment to more than 1000 children around the world who have special needs.
He said PhysioNet volunteers, with the assistance of inmates incarcerated in British prisons, take time out to repair and refurbish mobility devices that require minor repairs and equipment are shipped to recipient countries who are willing to foot the bill for shipping, customs, transportation and the distribution of the items to those who need it the most.
A special mention was made on some Fijians who had helped PhysioNet volunteers in loading the consignment ready for shipping to Suva.
"And to further prove the strength and the link here in Fiji and we talked earlier about how the loading was done in the UK — some of you may be happy and surprised to hear that amongst those who helped load this consignment were the sons and daughters of four Fijians serving in the British Army based in the UK — a truly fitting send-off I think," Mr Salter said.
He said PhysioNet through its partnership with the Vodafone Foundation was able to clear all the consignments sent to Fiji and was one of the few countries that actually cleared the Customs on all its consignment.
"PhysioNet has sent consignment similar like this to 17 countries."
Vodafone's chief financial controller Divik Deo said its foundation since 2012 had distributed over 10,000 mobility devices all across Fiji.