The Lifestart Foundation Free Disability Community Centre provides people living with disabilities in central Vietnam with new and improved opportunities. The Centre works directly with adults whose complex disabilities are a result of issues such as polio, war injuries, cerebral palsy and accidents. The Centre offers expert professional one-on-one assessments and depending on the patient’s special requirements they will receive a supervised rehabilitation exercise plan, information on nutrition, posture and details of locally based services. In addition, referral to a local hospital for surgery or prosthetics is provided for those who require specialist medical treatment.
Many people with disabilities live with pain and other side effects that restrict their opportunities and heavily impact their quality of life. The Lifestart Foundation already works with disabled adults by ensuring through the Lifestart Foundation Workshop that they have their own sustainable income and by providing wheelchairs and three-wheeled motorbikes that allow independence and mobility.
The project is in collaboration with the Department of Physiotherapy at Monash University, Melbourne.
In February 2011 a one-week scoping study was conducted with an expert team from Australia. Professor Jenny Keating – professor of Physiotherapy and Director of Allied Health Faculty of Medicine Nursing and Health Sciences Monash University, Chris Blackburn – Senior Clinician Physiotherapist with specialist skills in pediatric services and congenital disabilities and Doctor Annette Holian, Senior Orthopedic Surgeon with specialist skills in cerebral palsy, polio and pediatric services. This team recommended the need for local, freely available rehabilitation services and signposting to existing services to enable the coordinated care of people with complex disabilities.
Lifestart Foundation was kindly given a grant to purchase and renovate a suitable building in Hoi An for the Free Disability Community Centre by the Planet Wheeler Foundation (established by the founders of Lonely Planet Publications.) In addition Auscham HCMC supported the centre with funds for the purchase of equipment from sales of raffle tickets and silent auction donations at their charitable event ‘Circus Spectacular’ in September 2011.