Appropriate Paper-Based Technology (APT)
Specialised furniture is important for children with cerebral palsy and using recycled paper and cardboard enables specialist furniture to be constructed at affordable cost.
CPA is actively encouraging the setting up of local workshops for making assistive equipment to fulfil the positioning needs and measurements of each child. In the countries where CPA has been running training, more therapists are learning the skills to help children with cerebral palsy (CP) and consequently more families are coming forward for help for their children with CP.
Custom-made, locally adaptable chairs and standing frames are really necessary so that the children can have the chance to sit and use their hands, or stand and develop everyday skills themselves. CPA works to provide initial training in Appropriate Paper-based Technology (APT) techniques and then follow-up courses including practical help with templates for batch production support, how to adapt equipment to the needs of individual children and mutual encouragement.
A growing number of people have learnt and practised APT and are helping with training. They come as Volunteers; some have even paid towards their flights or other costs. It takes a lot of time to develop the skills needed for adapting the designs for children with differing needs and to practise the production techniques, so that people in can continue to make the items locally without high material costs. Also it has become more and more apparent in many African countries that small groups and even large organizations helping disabled children are always in need of funds. By making additional items for sale using cardboard, they can help alleviate the daily costs in a sustainable manner.
In 2010 the Paper Furniture Social Enterprise was started. Now there is a workshop in Hampshire with Volunteers coming on different days. Lots of local people support by bringing cardboard, newspapers and tights to the workshop. People learn the techniques and contribute different ideas and talents for making and researching designs that are saleable or ways for speeding up the production.
Paper Furniture Social Enterprise
To enable children with disabilities achieve their potential and be a valued part of their community across the developing world.
To enable people in Low resource areas to establish sustainable production units manufacturing assistive equipment aids and paper furniture from recycled materials for children with disabilities.
To set up a pilot social enterprise to test the feasibility of manufacturing paper furniture saleable in the UK, in association with Cerebral Palsy Africa (CPA).
The construction of APT furniture enables adjustment of the support provided before completion. In this image, the comfort and support for this child is being checked before the chair is finished and painted.