Rucogoza is a 45-year-old man who lives in rural Rwanda. About 13 years ago, he began to develop paralysis in both legs, and despite the treatment he received, his legs continued to weaken. He can no longer stand or walk and uses his hands to help move from place to place.

Rucogoza lives alone. His wife, Therese, and four teenaged children: Jeannette (19), twins Francine and Sylvie (16), and Olivier (13) live at the family home, located on a remote hill deep in the countryside, with the nearest road being at least a quarter mile from their front door. Their home is difficult for anyone to access, and after Rucogoza lost mobility, he had to move closer to the city, by himself, in order to earn a living.

Rucogoza makes a living by repairing electronic devices such as cell phones, radios, and watches. He was self-taught and is known for his intelligence, wisdom, and determination.

Without a wheelchair, however, his business was limited to customers near his rented room. “I was working from home where the clients were few,” he recalled. “I couldn’t earn even $0.20 a day, so it was difficult to get even a single meal for the family.”

Rucogoza at work, repairing an electronic device.

Earlier this year, Rucogoza received a new wheelchair from Free Wheelchair Mission by way of a local distribution partner, Food for the Hungry Rwanda. “But now, with this donated wheelchair, I am able to go to the commercial center where I find more clients than before,” relayed Rucogoza.

“I can now earn about $1.50 per day. Therefore, I’m able to feed and clothe my family members. The wheelchair impacted my social and psychological life because I can pay visit to my friends and go to various public gathering easily.”

With his new wheelchair, Rucogoza is able to go back home and visit his family, whom he worries about while he is away. The tires of his GEN_2 wheelchair allow him to more easily traverse the quarter mile dirt path between the main road and his front door.

The GEN_2 is designed for use on the kind of rugged terrain near Rucogoza’s home.

“I’m praising God due to his wonderful deeds through Free Wheelchair Mission,” exclaimed Rucogoza. “I’m wondering, how would my life be without this wheelchair support? I might be dead. Now, I move everywhere to do whatever I want and I’m feeling included in society more than before.”

“When I hear ‘Free Wheelchair Mission,’ I become very emotional. I consider it as my second parent. I can’t pass a day without testifying the wonderful deeds of Free Wheelchair Mission in my life. May God bless Free Wheelchair Mission!”

When you give someone like Rucogoza a new wheelchair, you don’t just transform one life. You also transform the lives of family members, caregivers, neighbors, friends, and more. You help bring hope to entire communities.

Thank you for being a part of our mission to give the gift of mobility to so many in need.


Don Schoendorfer
Founder & President
Free Wheelchair Mission