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The driving force behind an innovative project to develop and make affordable wheelchairs to improve the lives of disabled young people in Uganda has received royal recognition.

Steve Williams, co-founder of the of Kyaninga Child Development Centre (KCDC), received an MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire) from King Charles III in the New Year Honours list.

He has received his award for his exceptional dedication to serving children with disabilities and local communities in Western Uganda.

FBW Group is playing its part in the Kyaninga Mobility project. The not-for-profit company is working to design and develop mobility equipment using local materials and is being supported in its efforts by FBW.

Stuart Harley, FBW director of operations, is a member of the company’s advisory board and helped design its workshop in Fort Portal in the west of the country, working pro-bono.

The aim is to develop a wheelchair, using locally sourced bamboo, specially tailored for rural areas that is more affordable than imported equipment and can be supplied in far greater numbers to reduce waiting times.

Sales of equipment to third parties will help the company become self-sustaining and proceeds thereafter will be directed towards supporting the work of KCDC.

KCDC currently provides monthly therapeutic care for more than 1,000 children with a wide range of physical, intellectual and communication disabilities via an innovative community-based rehabilitation programme.

The organisation offers a unique intervention in children with disabilities lives through a holistic approach that aims at ‘helping all children reach their full life potential’.

Caring for a child with disabilities or additional needs places huge burdens on families and caregivers. KCDC also provides training, education and support to families, carers and communities in the care of children and young adults with special needs.

Since opening in October 2014, the KCDC team has grown to 85 staff working over three arms of the organisation: mobility, therapy and inclusive education. Donations to support its work are welcome.

Steve with his wife Asha and their Son Sidney

Steve and Asha Williams, husband and wife co-founders of the KCDC, were living in Uganda when their son Sidney was born with epilepsy and a permanent developmental delay.

In the year and a half following his birth, they travelled throughout Uganda and Kenya seeking support, and instead found an absence of organisations positioned to help children with disabilities.

KCDC was born out of that need and has continued to grow. So far it has reached more than 6,500 children with disabilities.

Steve, who is originally from Hertfordshire in the UK, has lived in East Africa for 20 years. He says: “The more we looked, the more we realised how many kids needed help.”

In Uganda, an estimated 820,000 children between five and 14 need a wheelchair and across East Africa, this number expands to an estimated 2.2 million children.

Steve adds: “There are so few services for disabled children in Uganda and it is difficult to find equipment. Availability is a real issue. So, we began to ask how we could make quality wheelchairs here at a more affordable cost.”

Stuart Harley says: “Everyone at FBW is delighted that Steve’s work in Uganda has been recognised in this way and he has our heartfelt congratulations.

“It is so well deserved and fantastic that his efforts to improve the lives of young people are being recognised.

“The work Steve and his team are carrying out is making a real difference. The project to deliver affordable wheelchairs is so very important and as a business with strong roots in the community we continue to support it.”

The FBW designed workshop was constructed using sustainable local materials to reduce its environmental impact and is naturally ventilated.

As the project develops Steve and his team are aiming to open a second workshop in Kampala and to produce their wheelchair for a wider African market. The cost of the off-road models will be in the region of £300.

To find out more about the work of KCDC visit