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Changing Lives with Wheelchair Donations Around the World

By Mary Richards, Church News

May 2022

Mexican women sitting in a wheelchair A beneficiary from Oaxaca, Mexico, in her new wheelchair from a donation from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in March 2022. Credit: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Mandisa Madondo, 29, from Durban, South Africa, used to be uncomfortable and even unsafe in the oversized wheelchair she was using. Born with cerebral palsy, she has scoliosis and a leg-length discrepancy.

Now in her new wheelchair, she is better positioned and has the proper support for her legs. Her new chair’s tray table allows her to eat with her family at mealtimes, and she can place her cellphone on it to communicate with her mother and caregivers.

Elder David Nish and Sister Theresa Nish, who are South African residents and local humanitarian missionaries with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, helped find the right wheelchair for Madondo. They said not only is she better off physically, more important, she is happy.

South African girl sitting in a custom wheelchair Mandisa Madondo smiles to show her happiness in her new, properly-fitted wheelchair she received with the help of local Church representatives in South Africa, in December, 2021. Credit: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Sister Nish said a wheelchair is not solely a mobility device: “It enables the user to interact and integrate with their family and their community on an equal footing. Loneliness is a terrible scourge, especially felt by those persons previously physically isolated from family and friends and confined to beds in back rooms, through no fault of their own.”

The Church has a long history of collaborating with local organizations to provide wheelchairs to children and adults around the world. Madondo is one of thousands of people in 62 countries whose lives have benefited in the past 12 months.

Recent donations

The Church donated 900 wheelchairs, 1,200 mobility aids, tools and training to local physiotherapists in Lenteguer, South Africa, in February. The program is run in partnership with the Western Cape Department of Health. (Read more)