Pushing for Mobility
Around the world there are 100 million disabled individuals in developing countries who need a wheelchair but can’t get one—instead they are carried by others, forced to drag themselves through the dirt or simply forgotten in the back rooms of their homes. We want to give them mobility.
When you stare at the sun, the bright image remains even though your eyes instinctively close. It is burned in, if but for a few moments. Amidst the dust and bustle of the traffic in Tétouan, Morocco, a figure emerges. A woman, elderly, alone—unable to walk. She struggles to drag herself across the road and avoid the donkey, cart and foot traffic swirling by: mocked by nearby beggars, ignored by society. The image of that woman was seared into Free Wheelchair Mission’s founder and President Don Schoendorfer’s mind. How to fix this. How to help the more than 100 million people around the world who are disabled and in need of mobility. The solution? Simple. A white resin lawn chair, some steel pipes and a couple of bike tires. Low cost, low maintenance—high durability. And in 2001 Free Wheelchair Mission delivered the first one.
To date there are 643,000 wheelchair recipients thanks to Free Wheelchair Mission’s efforts: the efforts of its donors and volunteers. These 643,000 individuals’ smiles are a testament to the impact that FWM has had in 84 countries around the world. The impact one image had on Don has in turn impacted the lives of 643,000 people. And counting. Just this year FWM held their Big Push campaign. The goal was to raise enough money to send 12,000 wheelchairs to people in need in nine countries over the course of 40 days, culminating in the ‘An Easter Together’ event with Francis Chan and Rock Harbor Church. At the end of the campaign 12,817 wheelchairs had been raised. 12,817 people would be lifted off of the ground and into a wheelchair. And what does that impact look like?
In Guatemala she’s a single mother named Sara: “with this chair I will be able to go back to therapy and soon I will be walking again.”
In Zambia he’s a young boy named Eugene: “I want to be a police officer when I finish school.”
In India, she’s a young girl named Bindu: she says nothing—she simply grins with gratitude and holds her kitten.
Now they have mobility. These stories, these smiles represent what we want to see on the faces of the 100 million people around the world who need a wheelchair but can’t get one. We want the memory from that 1979 trip to Morocco to be transformed from a story to history. Don’s comment after a wheelchair distribution was, “we just have to go back.” And we are going back. And we will keep going back because there are 100 million people, 100 million lives seeking change. That’s our mission—that was, is and will continue to be our impact.
More About This Charity
Charity of the Year, Health and Well Being
Free Wheelchair Mission
To provide the transforming gift of mobility to the physically disabled poor in developing countries, as motivated by Jesus Christ.
- This Achievement raised $819,537.38
- This charity raised $5,918,000 in the past year
- This Achievement helped 51,268 people
- This charity helped 604,000 people in the past year
- This Achievement provided 12,817 wheelchairs
India, the Phillipines, Vietnam, Mali, Angola, Cameroon, Mexico, Nicaragua, Colombia, United States