“I pride myself as one of the toughest of cookies,” said Tember, “but I broke down in private four times after being overwhelmed by emotions upon giving recipients improved mobility.”
The Rotary Club of Harare Central, our distribution partner in Zimbabwe, recently received a container of 440 wheelchairs, thanks to a generous donation by the Rotary Club of Fresno.
One of the Harare Club members, named Tember, reports on the distribution process:
This project has seen me clock over 200 service hours and assemble 93 wheelchairs. It has brought out the best in me.
The highlight was when our club embarked on a 700-kilometer (435 miles) round-trip to Gokwe, a rural cotton farming town in the Midlands where we assembled and handed over 20 wheelchairs to recipients.
It was a very tear-jerking event as people of all ages, living with disability, received wheelchairs for the first time in their lives.
The free wheelchair initiative resulted in us interfacing with some of the most disadvantaged Zimbabweans I have met to date.
Septuagenarian recipients came to Harare barefoot after a grueling 7-hour journey of over 400 kilometers (248 miles) in mountainous terrain… Over 40 women made the arduous trek for the first time in their lives for this.
For future shipments, we will take kits to some church-run hospitals in rural Zimbabwe, where we will assemble and hand over the wheelchairs instead of having the recipients travel to Harare at such a huge cost. Some had to rely on the benevolence of well-wishers while a few had to sell livestock to raise money for the journey to Harare.
I bandied some ideas on how we can fund-raise for the next shipment.
When you give the gift of a wheelchair, you give more than just mobility.
You help open doors to a new world of opportunity–a new hope–that people would go to great lengths to receive, like they did in Zimbabwe.
Thank you for all you do to help transform lives around the world.