The dream of enjoying fun and sun at the beach for persons with disabilities came true.

水上輪椅體驗活動再度舉行 傷殘人士水上玩樂不再是夢

The dream of enjoying fun and sun at the beach for persons with disabilities came true.

The dream of enjoying fun and sun at the beach for persons with disabilities came true.

Water fun for Persons with disabilities on Waterwheel Day 2019

WaterWheels enable wheelchair users to enjoy water fun

The Society advocates social inclusion, and firmly believes that persons with disabilities can enjoy their lives as much as the able-bodied with suitable aids and support. Thanks to the support and sponsorship from the Sino Group, five WaterWheels were donated to the Society in late 2018. This made it possible for wheelchair users to enjoy water fun at the beach. Inspired by beach lounge chairs and tricycles, the waterwheels allow users weighing below 300 pounds to float safely with a seat belt and one armrest on each side serving as buoys. The dream of enjoying fun and sun at the beach for persons with disabilities came true.

In the past year, The Society was able to organise Waterwheel Day again. During the two events in August, ten wheelchair users and eight of their family members were invited to spend a day in Gold Coast, Tuen Mun. The Society solved the logistic issues with its own network of Easy Access Bus, in which five buses were mobilised. Waterwheel Day was a success with the assistance of thirty Rehab Volunteers and ten other from the Fire Services Department. Not only could they make new friends, but also regain their confidence and embracing the tagline of the Society “Empowering persons with disabilities to live a fulfilling life”.

Uphill battle to reach the beach

It may be easy for the able-bodied to travel to the beach, but indeed an uphill battle for persons with disabilities. Most beaches in Hong Kong are accessible only by bus, where just one wheelchair space is available each time. In light of the logistic difficulties encountered by wheelchair users, The Society was delighted to mobilise its network of Easy Access Bus to send the wheelchair users and their family members to the destination.

Apart from the use of Easy Access Bus, the assistance from the volunteers was indispensable. Upon arrival at the beach, to allow wheelchairs to go on sand was another challenge for wheelchair users, since the drag and resistance from sand would make it difficult to run the wheels. Each wheelchair required two to three volunteers who helped push a wheelchair to go through the sand. The volunteers were happy to help out, as they realised that a little push and energy to go through such a short distance could bring about great joy and happiness.

Tackling disabilities for delightful everyday life

Kam-yuen, Patient with Spinocerebellar Ataxia

“I never thought of enjoying the clear water and fine sand because I am in a wheelchair,” said Kam-yuen. He was always busy with his work and did not have time to go to the beach when he was young. He was later diagnosed with Spinocerebellar Ataxia and has had to use a wheelchair since then. Visiting the beach had become out of reach.

WaterWheels allow wheelchair users to enjoy water fun at the beach. Now Kam-yuen can have water fun again at the beach, thanks to the WaterWheels and the volunteers. The experience recaptured the joy and excitement of childhood when playing in the sea.

“It is so fun and relaxing to explore the beach after so many years,” he said. “The Society has given wheelchair users a new opportunity to have fun at the beach.”

Most persons think that having a good time at the beach is nothing special because it is so easy to do. But to Kam-yuen, this is a precious opportunity. With suitable facilities, physical disabilities are no longer an obstacle to having fun. The Society suggests that beach facilities be improved, for example, by building more ramps to facilitate the use of wheelchairs and arranging more water sports activities for wheelchair users so that they can also enjoy the same privileges at the beach as everyone else.

Successful event to be held soon

The event was a huge success thanks to the generosity of The Sino Group, as well as the Society and Rehab Volunteers. More Waterwheel Days will take place in summer 2020, when ten wheelchair users will be invited each time. To volunteer for such a meaningful event, please feel free to contact our Rehab Volunteer Team at 2819 5529.