The Caribbean is the kind of place that dreams are made of. With white sandy beaches and crystal clear blue waters, there’s so much to enjoy and experience. Even so, many people who call this beautiful place home live in poverty. In under-resourced countries like Jamaica, the Dominican Republic, and Haiti, perhaps no one feels the effects of poverty more than those living with disabilities.
That’s where the Free Wheelchair Mission is making a difference in the Caribbean and throughout the world. They have manufactured and shipped over one million wheelchairs to 93 different countries. In the Caribbean alone they have given the amazing gift of mobility to over 36,000 people.
The total cost to build and ship a wheelchair to a disabled person in the Caribbean is only $80.
The final product is both cost-efficient and durable, designed to withstand regular use in the rugged terrain more common in the developing world. Once distributed, Free Wheelchair Mission’s partners on the ground assemble the wheelchairs and fit them to each recipient, often praying with individuals and even having Gospel-focused conversations.
Throughout the world, 74 million people are in need of a wheelchair. Without financial means to seek medical attention, injuries from accidents and traumatic events often go untreated and never heal properly. Birth-related complications leave many people with lifelong mobility struggles. People with no ability to walk and no means to move freely are often forced to crawl or wait to be carried.
In such situations, family members often act as caregivers, sometimes at the cost of their own employment and much-needed income. The gift of a wheelchair transforms the lives of recipients and their family members.
When an earthquake struck Haiti in 2010, a six-year-old boy named Grégoire suffered an injury which crushed his leg. It was later amputated. From that time on he had to use crutches to get to and from school every single day, but in 2018, Free Wheelchair Mission provided Grégoire with his own wheelchair. Free Wheelchair Mission’s CEO, Nuka Solomon, was visiting Haiti when Grégoire received his wheelchair and told the story:
“Grégoire’s smile is infectious and he says he is most happy to receive his new wheelchair so that his arms won’t hurt as much when walking to school with crutches. After grinning from ear to ear and taking a couple of spins in his new wheelchair, he closed his eyes, held the cross I gave him, and sang along as the pastor led us all in a prayer of thanks and praise.”
Caption: This child’s smile says it all!
A wheelchair opens doors to education, employment opportunities, and community that many recipients only dreamed about.
As followers of Jesus, we believe that we are called to bear each other’s burdens and take whatever action we can to lighten those struggles. Will you consider partnering with Free Wheelchair Mission by giving the gift of mobility today? A wheelchair lifts humans, loved by God, from the ground. It returns dignity and opens doors to greater economic stability, independence, and freedom.