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Thai wheel factory

History of Thai Wheel

          The Thai Wheel Factory cam about through the concreted efforts and cooperation of people with disabilities in Thailand and other countries. Initially, the factory’s aim was simply to provide a workshop and maintenance facility for wheelchairs. Over time, wheelchair production was added, with the aim of manufacturing strong, durable, cheap and lightweight chairs suited to the needs not only of variety of disabled people, but also to the various needs of disabled people.
          In 1992, the Association of the Physically Handicapped of Thailand (APHT) secured funding from the Asahi Shimbun Social Welfare Organization, along with a donation of 100 second-hand wheelchairs for disabled people in Thailand. This funding formed the core of the original maintenance facility. The Organization also provided workers with one month’s training In Japan and necessary maintenance equipment. 
          As a result of this, the APHT was able to open a small maintenance shop in April, 1993, called the “Wheelchair Maintenance Clinic Workshop” with 2 staffs. Initially wheelchairs given to disabled people were donated from Japan.
          The Wheelchair Maintenance Clinic Workshop continued in temporary premises until 1998, when the Public Welfare Department allowed the APHT to build a permanent workplace. The land was provided by the government and, through generouse donations, the present factory was built, being completed in 1999.
          The factory obtains equipment, spare parts, machines and raw materials from the Wheelchair and Friendship Center of Asia (WAFCA and WAFCAT). DENSO Thailand oversees the wheelchair production process to ensure it meets international standards.
From Wheelchair Clinic to Thai Wheel Factory
          The workshop established in 1992 aimed to provide specific maintenance services to disabled people. However, its range of services has steadily and successfully expanded over the years. Its success has been due to the generous support of many donors and associations. But more importantly, it has been due to the support and diligent efforts of the disabled themselves efforts by the disabled for the disabled
          The wheelchair Workshop still provides its core maintenance services; with the production begin an added and complementary activity. Research and Development, to devise new types of chairs to suit individual needs and a broader range of activities for the disabled is also important. The factory is managed and supported by the Foundation for Thais with Disabilities, which was established in March 2000 to support the work of APHT.

Objectives
1. Maintenance and production of wheelchair according to the needs of disabled people
2. Research and development into new styles of wheelchairs to enhance the quality of life for disabled people
3. Provide disabled people with knowledge, expertise and training in wheelchair maintenance.
4. Provide employment opportunities for disabled people

Services
1. Maintenance
           • Various kinds of wheelchairs maintenance
           • Loan of wheelchairs to customers while their own is under maintenance
           • Modification of wheelchair to suit individual needs
2. Production and modification
           • production of wider range of wheelchairs
           • Customer made wheelchairs
           • Tricycles for disabled people
           • Modification of motor cycles for disabled people
           • Production of equipment for hand control of cars
           • Production of other accessories
3. Research and Development
Research into and development of special purpose wheelchairs and wheelchairs with special features, such as for bathing, for sports,
with human waste disposal capacity, as well as of various accessories for specific types and levels of disabilities
4. Training
           • Provision of training to disabled people from Thailand and overseas in wheelchair maintenance and production
           • Training for government departments, non-government organizations and persons who are interested in learning about factory
standard wheelchair production and maintenance
5. Services
           • Training disabled people to drive a car
           • Metal welding, repair and bending
           • Temporary workshops for wheelchair maintenance for instance at seminars and sports days

The Future
We aim to see the Thai Wheel Factory as the prime centre for maintenance and production of wheelchairs in Thailand and to develop new wheelchairs designed for the specific needs of Thai disabled people.