Thailand (MNN) — In second and third world nations the disabled are largely ignored. Because most are poor, they spend most of their lives inside their homes, immobile.
Joni and Friends is changing that through their Wheels for the World program. Dana Croxton, a volunteer with Joni's Wheels for the World program, describes what they do. "We collect donated wheelchairs and mobility equipment, and it's refurbished and rebuilt. From there it's shipped to a country that requested a Wheels for the World presence."
The mobility equipment is then distributed by missionaries or local Christians with the help of volunteers who travel there.
Croxton says they had a very successful distribution in Thailand. "We distributed in four different cities over a two week period. We distributed between 300 and 400 wheelchairs, plus some crutches, walkers, and canes."
These devices are then fitted to each individual. It's then the miraculous happens, says Croxton. "In most countries we go to, we're not allowed to 'evangelize.' We work with local Christians who do that in an official venue as part of the distribution. But when you're actually working on a chair hands-on, somebody looks at you and says, 'Why?' that opens the door."
According to Croxton, they need more Chair Corp volunteers–people to coordinate wheelchairs, crutches, and other mobility device collections. He says there's also another need. "We're looking for individuals to volunteer to go to other countries. Right now I'm trying to put together a small team to go to Belarus in June with partners of another ministry that's already there."
Wheels for the World is working on every continent except Australia.