What a difficult week this has been for so many around the world.
Our prayers are with the people of Afghanistan, a country we once served, delivering more than 4,400 wheelchairs to people living with disabilities there.
We also ask for continued prayers for the people of Haiti, which was hit by a devastating magnitude 7.2 earthquake on August 14, 2021.
Free Wheelchair Mission has a long history and special connection with the people of Haiti, so it has been heartbreaking to see the devastation caused by this earthquake. I am hearing from my family in the area that the needs are urgent, with some towns in the affected peninsula almost completely destroyed.
The temblor struck as Haiti was already reeling from political unrest, a COVID surge, and economic hardship. What’s more, the country has never recovered from the catastrophic earthquake of 2010. Even today, 11 years later, many places in the capital have yet to be rebuilt.
We, along with our distribution partners, anticipate that the need for wheelchairs in Haiti will be even greater after this terrible disaster due to spinal cord injuries and amputations associated with collapsing buildings and structures, which we saw in the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake.
One of the people who sustained a spinal cord injury in the 2010 disaster is Solange, a 39-year-old mother who was out selling handmade sandals when a house collapsed on her.
Solange was taken to a hospital, where she spent over a year enduring multiple surgeries, none of which could restore her mobility. Her late husband was left unable to care for their five children by himself and placed the youngest two in an orphanage before he passed away.
During her long hospitalization, Solange became good friends with her roommate, Linda (33), who had been studying to become a nurse and had a one-month old baby when she, too, lost mobility to a spinal cord injury sustained in a building collapse.
Both Solange and Linda received new wheelchairs when I visited Haiti in 2018. “The chair allows me to go out and sell my sandals,” said Solange. “Without it, I wouldn’t be able to help feed my family.”
With last week’s earthquake hitting a less-developed region and being twice as strong as the 2010 quake, it is certain that durable wheelchairs like ours will be essential for getting the injured around on damaged sidewalks and unpaved roads.
Free Wheelchair Mission aims to ship about 2,500 wheelchairs to Haiti over the next few months. Your gift of any size will help others like Solange and Linda, in Haiti and beyond.
The needs in Haiti are urgent and growing. Please donate to support our response at FreeWheelchairMission.org/Haiti
Chief Executive Officer
Free Wheelchair Mission