Making Mobility Possibility

At Free Wheelchair Misison, our mission is to provide the transforming gift of mobility to people with disabilities in developing nations as motivated by Jesus Christ. As our name suggests, the transforming gift most often comes in the shape of a wheelchair, but did you know we sometimes help provide mobility through other means?

Worldwide 150,000 to 200,000 babies are born with clubfoot each year, and 80% of those children are born in developing countries.

Bling Thi Aver was one of them. She was born in the mountainous area of Quang Nam, Vietnam, and surgery was financially impossible for her family; so she grew up with one foot inverted and facing behind her.

FWM’s has shipped over $2.3 million in donated medical supplies in the past three years. Surgeons at Da Nang Orthopedic and Rehabilitation Hospital put some of those supplies to use in 2013 when our partner Giving It Back to Kids arranged for Bling Thi Aver to undergo surgery to correct her clubfoot.

Bling Thi pre-surgeryBling Thi post-surgery

And the operation was a phenomenal success! Now at 16 years old Bling Thi Aver can walk without pain—the gift of mobility transformed her life and renewed her dignity.

As she shared, “my feet are good and I am very thankful to the doctors and donors’ help that brought me a new future. I can walk and do everything I like.”

What a privilege it is to be able to provide mobility to those in need around the world, and thanks to your generosity we are providing it in more ways than one!


Don Schoendorfer

P.S. Our “Times Two” Gift Challenge continues through October 31. Every dollar you give will be multiplied x2—that’s twice the number of lives transformed. Will you take the challenge today?

Mobility, the Key to Independence

Being in a wheelchair might seem limiting to some of us, but for those we serve it can be unimaginably freeing.

Nicolay_UkraineNicolay had a stroke when he was 59 years old that left him unable to walk and shattered his sense of self-worth. A wheelchair wouldn’t give him back the life he had before the stroke, but he believed it would give him enough independence to feel he had something to offer again.

He tried for five years to obtain a wheelchair before he received one of our partners in Ukraine gave him a GEN_1.

Nicolay said, “I was waiting for this wheelchair as one would wait for a miracle. I could not believe that someone might help me, as I had been turning to a number of organizations for help and no one had ever helped me. Thank you. I am grateful to God for you. Thanks to this wheelchair, I feel I like a new man.

You helped deliver a wheelchair—a miracle in Nicolay’s eyes—to a man desperate for mobility and independence. Your generosity continues to make moments like this possible for people all around the world. Thank you!


Don Schoendorfer

P.S. It’s the half-way point of our “Times Two” Gift Challenge, and with your help we can change thousands more lives with the gift of mobility. Through October 31 every dollar you give will be multiplied x2.

A Hope, Now a Reality

Hope is powerful. It is more than wishful thinking. Hope is the fuel to live well in the present and approach the future with confident expectation.

Fourteen years ago David’s parents abandoned him at birth. The Arevalo family hoped to give him a better life, so they took him in and cared for him alongside their own five children. Despite their economic struggles, the Arevalos obtained a wheelchair for David, which made it possible for him to go to school … until the wheelchair went missing.

David ArevaloDue to his disabilities, David couldn’t get around safely without a wheelchair, which forced him to stay home and put his education on hold. But David never lost hope.

This June, a container from Free Wheelchair Mission arrived in Peru; and our Distribution Partner, Camino de Vida, delivered a GEN_2 wheelchair to David. His dream of returning to school came true.

His mother’s relief was palpable as David was transferred into his new wheelchair. And his smile spoke volumes.

Thanks to your generosity we had the privilege of making David’s hope for mobility and education a reality!


Don Schoendorfer

P.S. Together we can continue giving hope and mobility, and with the “Times Two” Gift Challenge every dollar you give between now and October 31 will be multiplied x2.

One Wheelchair = Untold Opportunities

How significant is one person’s mobility? For forty years Zhang didn’t have to answer that question. As an able-bodied man he provided for his family in China’s rural Henan province. Mobility was a given. Then, without warning, he developed a blockage in his right leg, and his circulation decreased to the point doctors were forced to amputate.

Limited mobility changed Zhang’s opportunities. He lost the ability to work; and instead of caring for his three children, they had to care for him. The stress and hardship affected each member of his family and altered the future they had all imagined.

Zhang RuishanAfter eight months of struggling on crutches, Zhang received a GEN_2 wheelchair. Despite his stoic demeanor, receiving the gift of mobility left Zhang fighting for words to describe the overwhelming emotion he felt. As he realized he had the opportunity to return to work and to provide for his family again, he cried tears of joy.

Each person’s mobility—or lack thereof—ripples through family and friends and community affecting countless lives. Zhang’s family has experienced the full spectrum of mobility, and we are so grateful your generosity enabled Free Wheelchair Mission to be part of the solution for Zhang and his family.

Thank you for allowing us to provide dignity, independence and hope in China and around the world.

Don Schoendorfer

Right now is a great time to open more doors of opportunity through the gift of mobility. You can multiply your impact with our “Times Two” Gift Challenge between now and October 31.

Mobility x6

Imagine caring for three sets of twins with disabilities. Imagine six children without mobility in one home. Imagine facing such a challenge in a remote area of Uganda.

Annette wasn’t imagining; it was her reality. As she sought to change her family’s future she made contact with a man named Brother Lawrence. Earlier this year, he contacted Free Wheelchair Mission by email and told us about the children. He asked if we could help.

In order to grant Lawrence’s request, we knew we would need help from one of our partners. We put him in contact with Father’s Heart Mobility Ministry, run by Francis and Adrienne Mugwanya. At FWM, we love to acknowledge our partners and other organizations that help people with mobility.

Father’s Heart Mobility was happy to help and worked in the same region where the children lived. They visited their home in Sheema District and verified the need for six wheelchairs and that the need was urgent. One boy has cerebral palsy and none of FWM’s chairs fit him properly, but we did not want to leave even one child without mobility. Thankfully, Father’s Heart Mobility was able to collaborate with Wheels for the World, an outreach of Joni and Friends, to provide a chair that fit the boy with cerebral palsy.

What joy in Annette’s household on August 28, 2015, when all six siblings received their wheelchairs. Each child hopes to start school. Annette and her mother want to begin a small sales business so Annette can stop begging in the street. New wheelchairs mean these goals are finally possible.

3 sets of twins

At FWM we know the logistics of shipping and delivering wheelchairs to a remote foreign location can be challenging. And providing suitable wheelchairs to a family suffering from multiple disabilities takes a concerted effort. We are fortunate to have trustworthy partners like Father’s Heart Mobility Ministry and resources like Joni and Friends’ Wheels for the World. These partners help us bring the gift of mobility to those in need.

As always, we at FWM appreciate you, our supporters. Your generosity and compassion bring solutions to those who need them most.

Don Schoendorfer


Greetings and Happy Friday!

Gertrude Musenero is 29 years old and lives in Busolwe, a small town in Uganda. At age three, she contracted a severe fever with long-lasting repercussions. Its ravages included loss of strength in her legs and she found herself unable to stand or even support herself with a cane. So for more than 25 years, Gertrude has been unable to walk.

Gertrude’s was only able to get around by crawling through the mud and dust. Imagine spending your adult life crawling daily on the hot earth. This circumstance would defeat many people, but Gertrude found the strength to pray. She prayed for a wheelchair to relieve the pain in her legs and to provide mobility that would allow her to go to church and visit with friends and relatives.

As Gertrude was helped into her very own FWM GEN_2 wheelchair, the look on her face changed. She displayed a new alertness and took a deep interest in the proceedings as the chair’s footrest was adjusted to fit her feet. Once Gertrude was properly positioned in her wheelchair, her expression beamed wonder and satisfaction. Her prayer was answered!


Thanks to your generosity and compassion, Free Wheelchair Mission was able to gift Gertrude with the mobility she had been praying for. Now this young woman with the fortitude of spirit to withstand years of crawling on the ground can look people directly in the eye. With a wheelchair to hold her up, she can live with dignity and independence. Thank you!


Don Schoendorfer


In collaboration with like-minded partners, Free Wheelchair Mission specializes in providing mobility to those in need.  But did you know our partners serve people with disabilities in other ways as well? Today’s story highlights our work with our partner, FUSAL in El Salvador and their relationship with Padre Vito Guarato Center.

The PVG Center shelters and cares for children with disabilities.  Sometimes these children are orphaned; other times, their parents cannot raise them. This past spring, we partnered with the Center to match 20 wheelchairs with special needs recipients.

One recipient, Walter Trejo, has lived at the Center for over 25 years.  Walter, a native of El Salvador, was born with cerebral palsy and unfortunately his parents had economic struggles and did not feel able to care for a child with special needs.  When Walter was 8 years old they brought him to the PVG Center.

Walter is now 34.  Over the years, he has thrived at the Center. In his youth, dedicated Center staff taught him how to move around in a wheelchair. Before this spring, he had been using a 10 year old chair donated to the Center.  Its parts were worn out, its cushion was uncomfortable and its brakes no longer worked well.  In addition, the chair had become too small for Walter.

In May 2015, Walter received his very own FWM GEN_2 wheelchair. He was so happy! His new chair enables him to sit comfortably and get around easily.  Walter takes great pleasure in visiting his friends throughout the Center. He loves salsa music and dedicates his day to spreading his positive energy to his friends at the Center. Because of his mobility, Walter is able to attend school and church and continues to make new friends.

Because of generous people like you, Walter is having the time of his life. The Center residents are so glad to see his smiling face as he comes by to visit them.  Your gift of mobility brightens Walter’s days and spreads smiles throughout the Center. Thank you!

Blessings, Don Schoendorfer