Free Wheelchair Mission

Jody Santos
Season 22
About this non-profit:

Don Schoendorfer, a biomechanical engineer, founded Free Wheelchair Mission after witnessing the plight of a woman with disabilities dragging herself across a road in Morocco. Haunted by her image, Schoendorfer used his MIT training to develop a low-cost, durable, functional wheelchair that would become the cornerstone of Free Wheelchair Mission, which he started in 2001 to serve people with disabilities in developing countries. Worldwide, an estimated 100 million people are in dire need of a wheelchair but lack the resources to obtain one. Many are forced to live on the ground or must wait to be carried to meet their most basic needs. Free Wheelchair Mission’s goal is to deliver 100,000 wheelchairs annually to the poorest of the poor – in some of the most remote regions of the world. This episode of the Visionaries follows Schoendorfer to Ayacucho, Peru, where he will make one of the most significant deliveries of his life - Free Wheelchair Mission’s millionth wheelchair. This story is a celebration of the lives that have been changed – the children who can now attend school and the parents who can support their families – because of Schoendorfer’s wheelchairs, which are often the first step toward dignity in a more inclusive world.

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