A Story From El Salvador

Brayan (12, El Salvador) was a healthy, precocious child who liked to run, jump, and climb, up until the age of two.

That’s when he started feeling pain in his joints.

His muscles grew weak and he felt discomfort in his spine. Brayan would eventually lose mobility to inflammatory myopathies, a group of diseases with no known cause.

His mother was devastated. Her precious son couldn’t walk anymore, and she couldn’t afford to buy him a wheelchair on her meager earnings selling pupusas (El Salvador’s national dish) on the street.

A family friend got them a used wheelchair, which his mother would push Brayan in to and from school each day. However, the old wheelchair eventually broke down during the bumpy, mile-long trip, and Brayan could no longer get to school.

He’d be left at home, sitting in the broken wheelchair that was propped up with a brick while his mother went to work. He couldn’t move anywhere on this broken wheelchair.

He felt trapped. Depression set in.

Brayan’s mother then tried carrying him to school for the next few years. Class time was fine, but when his friends would go outside to play during recess, Brayan would be left at his desk, alone, unable to join them. He felt like he would never be part of society.

Meanwhile, Brayan grew older and heavier. His mother injured her back while carrying him to school last year, and he was forced to drop out again.

Our distribution partner, Operation Blessing, learned of Brayan’s situation and fitted him with a new GEN_3 wheelchair, which folds for ease of transport and storage in their urban neighborhood.

Brayan’s face lit up when he first sat in his new wheelchair. “Now, I can move around the house on my own,” he grinned.

Because of the generosity of friends like you, Brayan could not only go back to school, he could spend time with his classmates outside during recess. “I am very happy to be able to go back to class and feel that I’m part of society,” he beamed.

El Salvador has been through so much lately: in addition to fighting COVID-19, the country was battered by torrential rains, flooding, and mudslides caused by Tropical Storm Amanda on May 31st.

In the midst of this all, individuals like Brayan still need wheelchairs to help give them renewed opportunities and hope for the future.

As we near the end of our fiscal year on June 30th, recent events have created a great deal of chaos and uncertainty worldwide. However, what remains certain is that we wouldn’t be able to bring the life-changing gift of mobility without your help.

Would you prayerfully consider giving a gift to help Free Wheelchair Mission finish strong and empower more people like Brayan with the gift of mobility?

Our mission continues, but only with the prayers and support of friends like you.


Don Schoendorfer
Founder and President
Free Wheelchair Mission