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LOREWO - Local Rehabilitation Workshops

A concept for empowerment, participation, and rehabilitation for people with disabilities in low income countries

Contact person

The LOREWO Concept
The Local Rehabilitation Workshop (LOREWO) concept is flexible and designed to be adapted to suit local situations and to the utilisation of existing, local resources. The concept is based on people with disabilities working to the benefit of people with disabilities.

The LOREWO Concept includes the following five main components:
• initial assessment and planning including the mapping of local resources, ensuring local anchoring, assessment of local needs and local adaptations of the concept
• establishing a Local Rehabilitation Workshop infrastructure
• capacity building and training of local personnel
• ensuring availability of assistive devices (wheel-chairs, walking aids, hearing aids etc.) suited to local technologies and economic conditions
• establishing organisational infrastructures for a Service Delivery System providing assistive devices, rehabilitation services and counselling services

The LOREWO Concept of providing assistive devices and rehabilitation services is a part of the total rehabilitation process and needs to be an integrated part of the rehabilitation policy in each country. The introduction of the LOREWO Concept is an important contribution to the continuous activity of increasing the level of independence for people with disabilities and to ensure their active participation in the society.

Rehabilitation Workshops infrastructure
A rehabilitation workshop can be established in either an existing or a newly constructed building and will be the base for the provision of assistive devices and associated services, the training of local personnel and the launching of local awareness.

LOREWOs are equipped with the appropriate tools, machines and devices in order to perform services according to the local needs.

The main services provided are:
• the provision of assistive devices
• the repair & maintenance, adjustments & adaptations of assistive devices
• local manufacturing and assembly of selected assistive devices (wheelchairs, tricycles etc.)

Existing LOREWOs are situated such that they are linked to existing health care services in order to facilitate for local availability of the services. Workshops can be located at the site of a hospital, a centre for user organisations, a rehabilitation centre, an NGO or at the site of other appropriate institutions.

Local availability of assistive devices
Workshops facilitate for the local availability of wheelchairs, walking aids and other assistive devices suited to varying existing, local technologies and economic conditions. The workshops also make spare parts available for repair and maintenance.

Supply of assistive devices is ensured through:
• local manufacturing of assistive devices
• donations of appropriate second-hand assistive devices
• a combination of donations, local assembly, local manufacturing and purchasing

Capacity building
Capacity building is major component of the LORWEO Concept. Its importance is centred on encouraging people with disabilities to participate in the society. The main target groups are the LOREWO staff, organisations of disabled people, professionals in the field of rehabilitation and professionals in the ministries.

The capacity building activities concentrate on:
• raising of awareness on disability issues
• providing knowledge about assistive devices and rehabilitation services
• training and developing human resources

Employment and training
Creating jobs and independent living for people with disabilities are among the main objects of the LOREWO concept.
Training emphasizes the principle of learning by doing and hands-on experience. Local personnel are trained according to the principle of adapting assistive device to the person with a disability, not adapting the person with a disability to the assistive device.
The basic training activities consist of:
• technical know-how and skills
• adaptation and practical use
• the principle of service delivery

LOREWO - In Zimbabwe and Namibia since 1999

Bulawayo LOREWO in Zimbabwe was founded in 1999 on the premises of the National Council of Disabled People in Zimbabwe - NCDPZ.
Address: 1952, Old Victoria Falls Road, Bulawayo
Phone: + 263 9 20 23 08
Fax: + 263 9 20 23 08

Oshakati LOREWO in Namibia was founded in 1999 on the premises of Oshakati State Hospital.
Address: PO Box 2164, Oshakati
Phone: +264 65 221195
Fax: +264 65 330293

The LOREWO teams are trained by occupational therapists and technicians from SINTEF and regional Technical Aides Centres in Norway. In addition some of the team members are trained to be wheelchair technologists at TATCOT Training Centre in Tanzania.

The two projects are funded by NORAD/Atlas Alliance (from 2001).
The initiation project was funded by UNDP/UNOPS (1999-2000).

Key Factors

Project duration

2001 - 2016