“When I got my first wheelchair it gave me the opportunity to learn. Before, I couldn’t see the environment around me, but with this wheelchair, everything became visible.” Porimol, Bangladesh

When we first met Porimol, he was just nine years old. The lively son of a fisherman, he lived with his family in their small one-room home in Dhaka, Bangladesh.

Porimol has cerebral palsy and, at this time, he moved around by rolling on the floor or being carried by his mother.

It was seeing the difficulties faced by children like Porimol that led Motivation to develop a range of wheelchairs and seats specifically for children who require extra support in order to sit up straight – 25 years later and these products have reached thousands of children around the world.

Back in 1991, we began our first ever project with the Centre for the Rehabilitation of the Paralyzed (CRP) in Dhaka. When we returned eight years later, Porimol was living at the centre and became one of the first children to test drive our new ‘supportive seating’ range. The wheelchair he was fitted with gave him the extra postural support he needed to sit up straight making it easier for him to breathe and eat. But the simple addition of a tray was one of the biggest turning points for Porimol. Not only could he play with his toys, but a picture chart attached to the tray meant he was able to start communicating with his family for the first time.

Porimol testing Motivation's supportive seating range back in 1999:

Porimol has grown up as Motivation has grown up. 17 years after we first met him, he now runs his own shop selling groceries and confectionary to his neighbours. He is able to help his family financially and is valued by his community.

When I got my first wheelchair it gave me the opportunity to learn. Before, I couldn’t see the environment around me, but with this wheelchair, everything became visible.

But life is still not easy. During the rainy season the roads around Porimol’s home become very muddy and slippery and it is difficult for him to get to work without help from his mother and father – evidence that our work is far from done and that ever better design solutions are still needed.

Seeing Porimol today we’re proud of how far we have come in 25 years, but we still have a long way to go if we are to achieve our ultimate goal – a world in which disabled people are fully included in all aspects of life.