It started in Yamagata because of a mother’s love and desire.
A son of Mary Penner was diagnosed with a progressive disease.
Fortunately because of Japan’s medical and welfare systems, he was given a wheelchair every 4 years according to his growth, and was able to attend school.
In the fall of 2000, Mrs. Penner and her friend got used wheelchairs and repaired them. In 2002, they sent their first wheelchairs to China, that were greatly appreciated. More people joined in this work and in 2006, “Wheelchairs of Hope” was founded, and in 2008 it became an NPO. Since then, we have been sending wheelchairs to people in Asia regardless of the race, belief or any other differences.
There are 20 million people ( WHO data) in the world who need a wheelchair.
For many people, a wheelchair is beyond their wildest dreams. On the other hand, in Japan, many repairable wheelchairs are sitting idle or being thrown away.
With a wheelchair, I can move, have hope, and it can change my life!
We took over a mother’s desire to refurbish wheelchairs and send them to poor people through oversea partnerships. Each wheelchair is delivering hope and freedom to the recipients, their families, and friends.
We gather wheelchairs from manufactures, leasing companies, welfare organizations, and individuals, and repair, wash and polish them.
Seniors, businesspeople, housewives, students…All are volunteering together to accomplish this work.
The sky was blue, the sun shone, and our lives were changed when Japan provided my young son with his first wheelchair; it was bright yellow.
I am so grateful and will always remember that day.
Years later, Joni Eareckson Tada came to Japan on a Wheels for the World trip （Wheels for the World） and mentioned the need for pediatric wheelchairs throughout Asia. Right away I realized that though my son had received a custom made wheelchair every four years after outgrowing his old one, there were families in many countries who were not so fortunate. As a follower of Jesus I wanted to do what I could.
My friend Eriko and I began talking with others about how to gather used wheelchairs that were sitting idle and get them into the hands of families who needed them. It’s been a phenomenal journey to watch people here in Japan gather together to repair and refurbish those wheelchairs. Travelers and various businesses have partnered with us to transport the wheelchairs throughout Asia. Today at Wheelchairs of Hope we continue to care about using resources carefully and doing quality work, but mostly we care about changed lives.
One of the early wheelchair recipients was Lort. He lives near the Thai Myanmar border.
Typical of most 19 year olds, Lort wanted to earn money at a job. There was work at a local canoe factory and we were delighted to give him a wheelchair. When I chatted with Lort, he patted his wheelchair and smiled.
“This chair is my best friend,” he said.
What began that day years ago in the rural city of Yamagata continues to impact lives today.
When we send wheelchairs, we send hope.
In the past we relied on travelers within Asia to help us by transporting wheelchairs from Japan to their destination airport where the chairs would be handed over to our partners there. Since 2009 however with the help of large corporations we’ve also been able to send containers with 125 wheelchairs at a time.
|Country||Number of wheelchair|
Copyright©Wheelchairs of Hope All right reserved.