Our Story

Many years ago, while on vacation in Morocco, a young engineer and inventor named Don Schoendorfer witnessed the agonizing plight of a woman struggling to drag herself across a busy thoroughfare. This image seared in his mind, Don would eventually leave a successful career in the biomedical field and invent a basic, inexpensive, durable wheelchair. This unique design would become the cornerstone of Free Wheelchair Mission, the nonprofit organization he founded in 2001 to serve people with disabilities in the developing world.

FWM is a humanitarian, faith-based, nonprofit organization that provides wheelchairs at no cost to people with disabilities living in developing nations. In collaboration with a network of like-minded partners, FWM has distributed over one million wheelchairs to those in need around the world since 2001, providing independence and hope through the gift of mobility.

The Need & Solution

The Need is Great

The need for wheelchairs in our world is staggering. In developing nations where poverty pervades, the World Health Organization estimates that 70 million people are in dire need of a wheelchair, yet they lack the resources to obtain one. Already suffering from the pain, isolation and indignity of a physical disability, many must endure further burdens. Many are forced to live on the ground or must wait to be carried to meet their most basic needs.

The Solution is Simple

Our wheelchairs are simple, cost-effective, and highly functional. They are designed to be resilient enough to withstand regular use in rugged terrain more common in the developing world. Our wheelchair designs allow us to maximize our impact around the globe, striving toward our goal of providing the transforming gift of mobility to as many people as possible while still maintaining a high standard of excellence. We partner with like-minded organizations to reach some of the most remote regions on the planet.

Your Impact

Wheelchairs provide mobility, and mobility changes everything. Mobility means independence, the ability to participate in society and earn a living. It means dignity, leaving behind the days of living on the ground and being treated like an outcast. Get involved and help us achieve our vision of distributing over 100,000 chairs annually, and to reach our goal of distributing two million wheelchairs by 2025.

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