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
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.