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How do you make a chair from cardboard?

ras-photo-1President Jenny welcomed everyone to the first meeting of the new programme.

The Guest Speaker was our own member Liz Lyle who gave an illustrated talk on her visit to Ghana in February.

Liz went to Ghana with Helen Hyams (ex SI Malton, now a member of SI Scarborough.) Helen is a recently retired paediatric physiotherapist and both she and Liz went under the auspices of Jacob’s Well Appeal to teach Appropriate Paper-based Technology (APT), with the objective of making supportive chairs from cardboard for four cerebral palsy children.

Without these simple chairs, the children would spend their lives laid on the floor or settee.

The Scottish based charity Cerebral Palsy Africa, provided the third member of the team, Marian, a Dutch Occupational Therapist and organised their flight to Accra. They then travelled in a small plane to Tamale in the Northern Region of Ghana. All this was self- financed but SI Scarborough, Helen’s church in Malton and Jacob’s Well Tamale Physiotherapy fund helped with money for expenses for the course.

The Tamale Teaching Hospital has many overseas staff and items of equipment were donated by various charities from around the world. Liz and Helen showed a group of Ghanaian nurses, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, community workers and parents how to make chairs for four cerebral palsy ras-photo-2[1]child patients in the Physiotherapy Department. These were made from three layers of corrugated cardboard and newspaper. The sheets of cardboard were glued together with flour and water paste and allowed to dry for several days before being cut with Stanley knives and saws into the components of the chairs. Tight rolls of paper were used to make rods to hold the shapes together. When dry and fully covered they were decorated with acrylic paints. It was amazing how rigid the chairs were.

Liz & Helen were taken to Kings Village, a charity also supported by Jacob’s Well which provides a school, clinic and a feeding centre for malnourished children less than 5 years old. There is a lot of disease related malnutrition, particularly in children. Malaria and intestinal parasites cause problems too.

Liz and Helen intend to return to Ghana in October when they will show the group how to make standing frames.

Liz answered many questions from the Members and was thanked by the President for a very interesting and informative presentation.