Wheels for the World

Wheels for the World

I first encountered Wheels for the World as a mission group arriving in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. They had planned the trip to Rio for some time, and had a team of local volunteers ready to help when they arrived.

The team brought wheelchairs and mobility aids, donated and refurbished in the USA – often in prison settings, giving purpose and mission to inmates there too.

The local community in Rio had identified people in need of wheelchairs, crutches, walking sticks tec. People whose lives could be impacted hugely by help with their mobility. Every wheelchair was custom fitted to the person receiving it, and they each received a Bible in Brazilian Portuguese too.

There was no requirement to have any kind of faith in order to be given help.

I was amazed at the amount of help given. The time and effort spent in making sure things were exactly right for each person. Making sure their help was appropriate for access where they lived – many of Rio’s poor communities are on hillsides where access is limited by steep steps.

Wheels for the World is part of a group of charities focused on bringing the Gospel – and practical help – to communities and individuals around the world. It began as ‘Joni and Friends’, which is still the root of the charities that came out of it.

An amazing lady, Joni Eareckson Tada, had a vision of what could be done in the name of the Gospel after her own life was turned upside down following a diving accident in her youth that left her paralysed from the collar bone down.

‘That’s when God’s glorious plan for my life began to take shape. My wheelchair would be the vehicle that would carry the hope of Jesus to families like mine.

It’s been costly and difficult to sit in this wheelchair for 56 years, but it’s also been a blessing…for me and for others.

God took something that harmed my body (namely, my accident) and used it to not only give me Christ-centered hope and a future in eternity with Jesus—he also used it to give birth to Joni and Friends!’

Joni and Friends follows the call of Jesus found in Luke 14:

Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind, and the lame.… Go out to the roads and country lanes and compel them to come in, so that my house will be full”                                                 (Luke 14:21, 23, NIV).

Wheels for the World focuses on bringing practical help. Its partner charity is Through the Roof, which encourages education and training for inclusion and access for people with all kinds of disabilities.

  • children’s wheelchairs
  • wheelchair cushions
  • manual collapsible wheelchairs (not electric/power wheelchairs)
  • crutches (in pairs and undamaged) and walking sticks
  • undamaged folding walkers (three- or four-wheel)
  • Bibles
  • Buggies & children’s car seats in good condition (we use these for wheelchair seating – not in cars)

Otwao has Cerebral Palsy and lives in Uganda. Although he can see and hear, he is unable to move his body. Like so many disabled children in Africa, he is hidden away. He and his mother live on their own in a reed hut. She goes to work every day and used to carry Otwao on her back, but since he’s grown too large for her to carry, she has had to leave him at home, lying alone on a cold floor until she returns in the evening. Otwao arrived at the Distribution Centre with his mother hoping for a wheelchair. The team assessed him and gave him a wheelchair fitted for his size. Otwao can now enjoy company and freedom with her again.

In the UK The Through the Roof warehouse in Aldershot is where wheelchairs and mobility aids are refurbished ready to be shipped to developing countries where our ‘Wheels for the World’ mission trips are taking place. Volunteers clean and get the wheelchairs and mobility equipment ready to go, then help to load them when it’s time for the container to arrive.

For £50 you can sponsor the provision of a wheelchair and a bible.

There is so much more that these charities do. If you’d like to find out more, please do check out their websites (they are excellent!)

https://joniandfriends.org/wheels-for-the-world/     (mainly their work in USA)

https://throughtheroof.org/international-mission/wheels-for-the-world/   (UK branch)