Free Wheelchair Mission
|This article does not cite any references or sources. (November 2010)|
The Free Wheelchair Mission is an international faith-based nonprofit, humanitarian organization dedicated to providing wheelchairs for the impoverished disabled in developing nations. Working in creative partnership with a network of like-minded humanitarian groups, FWM has sent over 583,000 wheelchairs to over 81 countries around the world, delivering not only the gift of mobility, but one of dignity, independence and hope. Specially designed for use in rugged terrain, the FWM wheelchair combines the durability of a resin lawn chair and the strength of a custom steel frame, all tucked into a sturdy pair of mountain bike tires - and costs less only $63.94 each to produce. This organization was founded in 2001 by Don Schoendorfer, who has a PhD in biomechanical engineering from MIT. Headquartered in Irvine, California, FWM has over 675 volunteers worldwide. Funding for the wheelchairs are provided by private and public donations including individuals, groups, corporations, churches, universities and foundations. To save on costs and ensure quality control, the wheelchairs are assembled by a pre-approved distribution partner in the country which they will be distributed and given to recipients for free. Free Wheelchair Mission's goal is to deliver 20 million wheelchairs to developing countries all over the world. Schoendorfer received the Above and Beyond Award during Medal of Honor Day on March 25, 2008, at Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, D.C.