VFA implements Post-Conflict Rehabilitation Programs in Cambodia, and Vietnam and has supported rehabilitation and disability programs throughout Central America and Sub-Saharan Africa. Thousands of people who suffer from disabilities caused by war or debilitating diseases such as polio and clubfoot benefit every year from artificial limbs, braces and wheelchairs produced at VFA clinics. In addition, patients are enrolled in physical therapy sessions where they develop the strength, flexibility, and skills to become mobile again. VFA’s community follow-up and outreach teams bring assistance to people where they live. And through the creation of self-help groups and the implementation of sports and recreation activities through our Sports for Life initiative, people develop the confidence, skills, and social networks necessary to become active participants in their societies.
Completed Rehabilitation Programs
VFA supported the Organization for the Promotion of Disabled Persons of El Salvador (PODES) from 1992-2006, when it was established by MEDICO International and Medical Aid to El Salvador. VVAF provides technical support, training, and funding to the organization. Dave Evans, a Vietnam veteran double amputee and a certified prosthetist, worked closely with the group through 1999, with funding from VVAF.
By 1996 PODES was a fully functioning rehabilitation facility ranked by the World Rehabilitation Fund as the highest quality manufacturer of orthopedic devices in El Salvador. That same year, the organization began a program to make components required for the manufacture of orthopedic devices in order to eliminate the high cost of importing them. Today PODES has more than 900 patients on file, produces about 200 new devices, and performs an equal number of repairs each year. PODES employs 23 people in its workshops and administration, 19 of them disabled.
VFA’s involvement in Ethiopia began in 2003, as the provider of rehabilitative services for people with disabilities at the Dessie Orthopedic Center. These services included physiotherapy services, gait training, and a Community Follow-Up Unit (CFU).
It soon became apparent, however, that the center was not able to meet the needs of the entire Amhara region, a large geographical area containing the largest number of people with disabilities in the entire country. In August 2005, VFA completed construction of a new regional rehabilitation center in the region’s capital of Bahir Dar. VFA then immediately equipped and stocked the center and began training technical staff to provide prosthetics, orthotics, wheelchairs and other assistive devices to patients. The Bahir Dar Physical Rehabilitation Center was handed over to the Ethiopian Bureau of Labor and Social Affairs in 2006.
For nearly 10 years, VFA has worked in Angola to bring about significant changes in the conditions of the war-ravaged country, improving growth and development of a now more vibrant civil society. By assisting in the reconstruction and reintegration of these scorned individuals’ lives back into society, an improvement has been seen. More and more citizens are active and engaged and are exercising control over their own lives.
In September 1996, VFA and its Post-Conflict Rehabilitation program (PCR) set up, equipped and staffed a rehabilitation center in Luena to provide rehabilitative services to landmine victims and other war-wounded living in eastern Angola. In late 1997, VFA launched the only facility to serve eastern Angola.
In 2003 VFA launched it’s innovative Sports for Life program to promote the rights of persons with disabilities. This program became nationally and internationally recognized for its advancements in amputee football.
The Angola program will be officially handed over to the care of the Angolan Ministry of Health at the end of 2006.