A person (really more then one) told my friend, Bonnie Lewkowicz
that it was too bad that she was confined to her wheelchair. Bonnie replied that her wheelchair wasn’t confining, it was liberating. It’s liberating because her wheelchair has given her freedom and opportunities in her personal and professional life that she would have never know about. Her wheelchair has been freeing, not confining, her. This idea that a wheelchair can be a vehicle for illumination and discovery does not occur to most people in the world.
But it has occurred to groups of people and I’d like to do for you what Mike Collins did in 2011 for my sister and I when he received the Spirit of Movement award. That is introduced you to one organization that creates liberating opportunities with wheelchairs, UCP Wheels for Humanity
. Not only is what they bring about in this world important for you to be aware of but also there is an opportunity for you that is not to be missed, if at all possible, so stick with me.
The what that this organization brings about is; in 1996 the founders perceived the need that at least 1% of the world's population of children and adults, need a wheelchair and only 2 out of 10 of them have a wheelchair. UCP Wheels for Humanity collects, refurbishes and distributes wheelchairs to under developed countries in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Europe, Central America and South America. Not only do they deliver wheelchairs all over the world, 50,000 at last count, to people who need them, they also leave behind the training and materials to maintain the equipment.
This organizations mission statement is to “ provide increased self-sufficiency, mobility and education to people with disabilities throughout the world, without regard to political affiliation, religious belief or ethnic identity.” How do they find the people they can assist in their mission, they are collaborators in the biggest sense. They connect and work with service groups like the Rotary and Lions clubs, rehabilitation hospitals, private foundations, orphanages and more. In most under developed countries if you have a disability, you are thrown away so orphanages might be where you would land.
Mentioned in the mission statement was education. What does education have to do with distributing wheelchairs?
Everything, because if you give a person a fish you feed them for a day, but if you teach them to fish you feed them for a lifetime. Wheelchairs break down, parts need to be replaced and shipping equipment around the world costs money, money that can be used for more mobility and liberation. UCP Wheels for Humanity received a $1.6 million grant in 2009 from USAID to establish a wheelchair manufacturing plant in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, a country of 240 million people where more then 10% of it’s people have a disability. UCP Wheels for Humanity Indonesia (UCPW-I) has been established to full fill it’s mission and partner with the in-country Gadjah Mada University and 9 local disability organizations, foundations and hospitals.
I mentioned earlier about an opportunity for you. UCP Wheels for Humanity must raise the funds to create the opportunities for people around the world that we take for granted everyday in this country, the ability to move in any direction we choose. They have the Rock to Roll outdoor fund raiser each year with lots of rock'n music and fun. And they have the indoor Life without Limits Spirit of Movement Awards in Hollywood California which is this weekend May 19, 2012. Guess what you can still make it! This evening is filled with food, awards, food, auctions and more food, did I say there is food? So what are you waiting for times a ticking and someone needs a wheelchair out there. Tickets and the opportunity for you to create some liberation for a person in the world are still to be had. Who says one person can’t make a difference in this world? Believe you can and you will.
Blessing to All, In Joy, Candace
"So many of our dreams at first seem impossible, then they seem improbable, and then, when we summon the will, they soon become inevitable." Christopher Reeve
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© 2012 Candace Cable