|Free Wheelchair Mission utilizes an organizational model that leverages development and support efforts alongside an extremely economical design and a vast network of manufacturing, shipping and distribution partners – the resulting system stretches donor dollars and maximizes beneficial impact on a global scale.
Manufactured in China for maximum economy, the wheelchairs are packed in bulk in ocean-going containers in quantities of 550 units; shipped from the port of Shanghai, the containers are transported directly to the designated receiving country for highest efficiency. Upon meeting the container at port, carefully screened in-country distribution partners assume financial, logistical and distribution responsibilities for the container, and for locating qualified beneficiaries. (See the Journey of a Wheelchair)
- At the FWM headquarters in California, the development team collaborates and coordinates with a number of ongoing support and fundraising efforts. FWM is funded through private donations, faith-based organizations, government and foundation grants and annual events.
- Humanitarian groups operating overseas in-country recognize a need among their constituent groups for wheelchairs. Upon learning of FWM, they apply to become a distribution partner. Prospective distribution partners must prove financial stability, a history of good works and a valid, verifiable background as a charitable organization. Upon approval, distribution partners join the queue and line up to wait for an available container of wheelchairs.
- As funds at FWM headquarters become available, the factory in Shanghai is notified; a container of wheelchairs currently costs approximately $39,534 to manufacture. Wheelchairs are packed and shipped in ocean-going containers of 550 units.
- Container is moved from the factory to the Port of Shanghai.
- Container is loaded on a freighter and transported to country of destination.
- The distribution partner meets their designated container at the seaport and arranges for clearance and transportation. Distribution partner must be able to accommodate financial responsibility and logistical ability to transport the container from seaport to site, including clearing customs and navigating local constraints.
- Distribution partner arranges at their home base and beyond to locate and qualify beneficiaries for wheelchairs. D.P.’s are responsible for proper wheelchair assembly, and for wheelchair user training for recipients using the FWM-supplied manual. Depending upon the need and location of recipients, the distribution partner may distribute individually or plan ceremonies both large and small.
- Distribution partner records and photographs details of their distribution and sends reports back to FWM headquarters.
See "The Journey of a Wheelchair"