The Angoulême Kiwanis Club rents the Kiwanette to persons with disabilities for runs and walks.
It started with an aha moment. While visiting Brest in the western French region of Brittany, Angoulême Kiwanis Club member Joël Treny saw Kiwanians taking disabled kids for a ride in an all-terrain machine featuring one wheel. “This is for us!” he thought.
Treasurer Treny passed the idea by his club’s president, Jacques Lafaurie. They contacted a local artisan specializing in equipment for the disabled and learned that developing and building a similar machine would cost EUR3,000.
The club set out to raise funds by organizing a cabaret evening, historical conferences and even a garage sale.
They soon had enough money and the “Kiwanette” was born, developed specifically for the club by an artisan engineer. Kiwanis took delivery in January 2015. Word-of-mouth did its magic, and after just one use, requests from parents and associations came pouring in, so much so that the club is developing a rental calendar to ensure the Kiwanette is not double-booked.
The Kiwanette can be rented free of charge from the Angoulême club, whereas it would cost EUR150 to rent one commercially. Its design allows access to beaches, hilly areas and rocky terrain and is especially popular among people with disabilities who want to participate in running events.
Fifteen-year-old Killian Favraud has ridden it three times already. His mother, Angélique, says he gets really excited about the races. In May 2016, he participated in the Joëlette World Championships, a 12K race for people living with disabilities, and his team came in 60th out of roughly 100 participants, cheered on by his younger brother, William.
“He wants to win,” reports Angélique, voice trembling. “I would never have thought that his enthusiasm for racing would make me forget that he is disabled. He becomes a teen like all others, huge smile on his face. None of that would be possible without the Kiwanians.”