, July 13, 2011—Last month, Orange County resident Don Schoendorfer traveled to Zambia with a team from World Vision, helping to distribute over 500 wheelchairs and launching a twelve country tour to benefit people with disabilities in the developing world with a total of 6,000 custom-fit wheelchairs.
Working in partnership with World Vision
and Azusa Pacific University
, the mission to Zambia marked the first stop on a year-long tour the two organizations will cover together, distributing wheelchairs and training local staff on the use of the GEN_2, Free Wheelchair Mission’s newer, adjustable wheelchair.
“Back when we started Free Wheelchair Mission
in 2001 we considered World Vision as an ideal partner,” said founder and president Don Schoendorfer. “Now, after ten years, it is extremely exciting to see this opportunity grow before our eyes.”
Free Wheelchair Mission manufactures and distributes low-cost, basic wheelchairs, specially designed for the rugged terrain of the developing world. The organization distributed over 560,000 wheelchairs, free of charge, to people in 80 countries in their first ten years of work in international wheelchair provision.
"The partnership between our two organizations has created an opportunity that neither of us could have achieved by working alone," said John Jensen, Director of Key Partnerships for World Vision. "With Free Wheelchair Mission's ability to manufacture and provide wheelchairs, coupled with World Vision's capability to deliver them to developing countries, we are able to provide mobility to far more disabled children."World Vision
is a Christian relief and development organization dedicated to helping children and their communities worldwide reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty. World Vision is in nearly 100 countries and assists millions of people through a wide array of humanitarian programs focused on children and families.
During the ten day mission to Zambia, in addition to wheelchair provision, the team conducted extensive training exercises to benefit World Vision’s on-site caregivers, supporting their ongoing efforts to build, adjust and personalize wheelchairs. The team also filmed a training video that will be used for future distributions in Zambia and in additional countries around the world.
“With World Vision as a partner,” Schoendorfer added, “I am outrageously optimistic of reaching our goal to help millions of people living in the depths of poverty get their chance for a better life.”
Don Schoendorfer is available for interviews regarding the recent distribution in Zambia and Free Wheelchair Mission’s ongoing partnership with World Vision. To schedule an interview or request b-roll of the distribution launch in Zambia please call Christine Connolly Bell at (323) 208-2444.About Free Wheelchair MissionFree Wheelchair Mission is a humanitarian, faith-based organization based in Irvine, California. In association with a global network of distribution partners, FWM manufactures and delivers wheelchairs to impoverished disabled populations living in developing countries. To learn more, please visit www.freewheelchairmission.org
.About World VisionWorld Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization dedicated to working with children, families, and their communities worldwide reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice. We serve the world's poor -- regardless of religion, race, ethnicity or gender. For more information on their efforts, visit WorldVision.org/press or follow them on Twitter at @WorldVisionNews