Inspiration: the strength of a mother

Written by on August 9, 2012 in Body & Mind, Wellbeing - No comments

When I met Shona McDonald (South Africa) and heard her story, I was deeply moved and impressed with her strength and commitment. What this woman did for her daughter, and for the world, is simply amazing. Read the story of a woman that changed the lives of many disabled people.

Shona’s second daughter, Shelly, was born with cerebral palsy in1984. She was disabled, would never be able to speak and was almost completely deff. Doctors and therapists advised Shona to put Shelly in a home and have another baby. Shona would not accept that. She also realized that by taking her daughter to a home, she would be silencing all those mothers who care for their disabled children. Determined to make life better for her daughter, Shona, with the help of local therapists, embarked on a search for a baby carrier.

After seeing pictures of a special seating support electric wheelchair in a Swedish magazine, Shona made contact with the Bio-medical Engineering Department at the University of Cape Town, and asked them to build her a similar machine. This led to the first locally-produced battery-powered buggy, and the foundation of Shona’s company, Shonaquip, itself.

The buggy gave Shelly great freedom and enabled her to attend a local pre-school, where, thanks to all the stimulation she received, she progressed rapidly on to primary and high school. Shona wanted to help more disabled children, especially those living in poverty, so she registered Shonaquip and continued designing all sorts of products to meet the needs of the children she met.

Today Shonaquip is a healthy, growing company driven by community needs that continues to design, manufacture and sell body support equipment and other customised assistive devices for wheelchair users. Shonaquip provides clinical services, as well as professional and clinical training for therapists, rehabilitation workers, wheelchair users, their care providers and families, across Southern Africa. The company now has branches in the Western Cape and Gauteng, and its head office and factory are based in Cape Town. Since its inception, it has helped more than 65.000 people in need of wheelchairs.


Watch this video that was made for the French TV program Changer le Monde (Canal +), to learn more about Shona and Shonaquip. The video is in French, but Shona speaks English.

About the Author


Founder of Allmygoodness. True believer in the goodness way of life. Sustainability & communications consultant. Foodie. Mother of a girl and twin boys.

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