Wheelchair Recipients Just Can't Stop Smiling

News Release
 

The mood is festive among the group of ten gathered at the Association for People with Disability in Bangelore, Karnataka this hot July morning. In fact, they can’t stop smiling as they each wait their turn to be measured and fitted for a new custom wheelchair provided by LDS Charities, the humanitarian arm of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in partnership with the state of Karnataka and Motivation India.

Rosanbee, age 37, from Bengaluru, disabled from her youth by polio, says she is “Happy to move outdoors and indoors without taking any help from my family members.” Her new, more comfortable custom fitted wheelchair will allow her to better care for her 10 year old son. She just keeps repeating “Thank you, thank you, thank you!”

Rudrasarathi, age 14, is waiting patiently with his parents to receive his first wheelchair. He is a good student and wants to be a scientist someday.  He used to ride his bike to school until muscular dystrophy made it too difficult. “With the new wheelchair,” he explains, “I can attend school independently and sit upright.” The chair he receives today be expanded as he grows to adulthood.

Narayanappa, age 36 has come with his wife Sudha, from the village of Chittoor, four hours away in Andhra Pradesh to receive his rough terrain wheelchair. He lost the use of his legs eight years ago in an accident that injured his spinal-cord. He is happy to now be able to negotiate the rough and uneven surfaces of his village.

After all the adjustments have been made and each of the 10 have received their chairs, they move outdoors to a training area where they learn to maneuver their wheelchairs and negotiate ramps and stairs. Thirty-one year old Danashekar, moves with grace and power. He beams, “Thank you so much to all who are involved in this great work to make us independent and flying with wheels.”

The initial training completed, repair kits are distributed and recipients prepare to return home. Follow-up training and evaluations will continue in the coming weeks. Twenty-eight year old Chjandra Shekar, disabled by a spinal-cord injury several years ago prepares for the ride back to his village with his new rough terrain wheelchair. Smiling, he exclaims, “I am grateful to everybody who made me independent and changed me from a passive receiver to active contributor.”

These 10 are the last of 851 recipients of wheelchairs distributed through this project. Additional donations are scheduled for Bengaluru, New Delhi, Chennai and Mumbai. Wheelchair training and distribution are global initiatives of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints carried out through LDS Charities. The faith organization has been engaged in wheelchair distribution for 10 years following World Health Organization guidelines. Last year wheelchairs were provided to 55,000 people in 48 countries.

LDS Charities works to empower those in need, without coercion and regardless of individuals’ race, religion or nationality. To hear technical specialists talk about the LDS Charities wheelchair program, watch this video.

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