For Those Who Can't Walk, Hope From the U.S.

April 8, 2006 - Posted at 12:26 p.m. CST

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) _ In some of the poorest countries in the

world, people who can't use their legs are regaining their lives

thanks to a Columbia-based company.

P-E-T International makes hand-cranked, three-wheeled carts

built to travel over dirt roads and cobblestone streets. The

vehicles are called Personal Energy Transportation devices and are

distributed through a domestic and global network in 56 countries.

Co-founder and executive director Mel West says the devices

provide freedom to people who have often been shunned because of

their disabilities.

The devices cost 250 dollars apiece, with individual, corporate

and church donations covering the organization's estimated

240-thousand-dollar annual budget.

An estimated 21 million people worldwide can't walk because

of birth defects, polio, land mines and accidents.

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)