MEND’S AMAZING STORY – here’s how it all started:
Twenty years ago Rob Buchanan, Mend’s Founder, was in Fiji, researching native medicinal plants. He was in a small village, and in the morning walked past a boy sitting out on the veranda of his home.
Hours later, when Rob walked past the house again, the boy was still sitting there. He hadn’t moved! Rob knew this was very unusual behaviour for a young boy, so he asked the boy’s mother about it, and was told that the boy had muscular dystrophy.
Rob decided to see if he could do something to help the boy. He took a bus for several hours from this small village to Suva, the capital of Fiji, to the main rehabilitation centre at the government hospital. When he enquired at the hospital if there was a wheelchair for the boy, he was shown a shipping container full of broken wheelchairs.
So, resourceful Rob took parts from several wheelchairs and put together one that worked, and brought it back to the small village for the boy. The wheelchair changed the boy’s life and that of his family.
Rob repaired several other wheelchairs, and provided them to other young people in remote villages who desperately needed them.
He discovered that there were adults and children with disabilities hidden away in many of the small villages in Fiji, with no money for assessment or rehabilitation.
He spent weeks hiking to the small villages, seeking them out, and created a list of disabled children and adults who needed help in the remote villages of Fiji.
He shared this list with the international charities represented in Fiji, so they could help. Much to his surprise, they were not interested.
Not only that, but what Rob was doing was threatening to them for some reason, and he was asked to stop!
After that experience, Rob knew he couldn’t depend on the large charities and religious organisations to help the people he had found, and went ahead and helped them himself.
And he’s still doing it, 25 years on. More about us.
Our mission today: To help children and adults challenged by disability become mobile, independent and trained in skills that can lead to employment…and so achieve dignity in their communities”.