Monsanto Fund Improves Lives for 550 Nigerians—Free Wheelchair Mission Receives $42,851 Grant for Wheelchairs in Nigeria

Irvine, CA, January 14, 2016 --( People living with disabilities in Nigeria are often invisible. The Monsanto Fund is changing the stigma of people with disabilities in Nigeria by opening doors to education, employment, and socialization with the simple gift of a wheelchair.

Often individuals with disabilities in Nigeria are excluded from society. A grant of $42,851 from the Monsanto Fund provided Free Wheelchair Mission with the ability to manufacture, ship and distribute one full container of 550 wheelchairs in Nigeria.

Worldwide, over 100 million people with disabilities are in need of a wheelchair but are without the means to get one. Often these people must crawl or be carried by friends and relatives to meet their basic needs such as toileting and grooming. FWM provides wheelchairs at no cost to those in need who are living in the developing world.

Don Schoendorfer, a mechanical engineer and inventor with a PhD from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, realized the dilemma of disability in developing countries while vacationing in Morocco and walked away from a successful career to found the nonprofit organization, Free Wheelchair Mission.

Schoendorfer’s goal was to create a basic design at an extremely low cost to meet the need for the highest number of people with disabilities, in the shortest amount of time possible. Rather than starting with custom-made components, Don put together a wheelchair using elements already in existence; parts currently being manufactured and produced in high volume—resulting in a durable, safe and inexpensive wheelchair—the GEN_1.

“I wanted readily available, low cost and durable materials to create a sustainable long-term solution to mobility,” Schoendorfer said. “Mobility improves lives.”

The 550 FWM wheelchairs for Nigeria were manufactured in China and are currently in route to Ilishan-Remo, Ogun State, Nigeria for distribution by FWM partner Grace Project International in early 2016.
Free Wheelchair Mission
Michele Werner
(949) 273-8470