Chiang Mai Charity Donates Wheelchairs to Needy

 | Wed 10 Sep 2014 18:40 ICT

CityNews – Disabled people throughout the country are receiving free wheelchairs, thanks to the efforts of a small Chiang Mai charity.

Volunteers receive the wheelchairs. Photo: Foundation to Encourage the Potential of Disabled Persons.

The Foundation to Encourage the Potential of Disabled Persons received 1,100 wheelchairs last week, and has begun distributing them to those in need.

The Chinese-made wheelchairs were donated by its partner, the Free Wheelchair Mission, which is based in the US. The foundation works with local authorities to deliver them to disabled people.

In the first week after receiving the delivery, it distributed 240 wheelchairs to small rural communities in Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Phrae, Nan, Phayao and Lamphun, said founder Don Willcox.

However, the foundation had to pay 126,000 baht in customs costs after officials held the cargo in the docks in Bangkok for more than four weeks, said Willcox, describing it as “a bitter pill”. It paid another 114,000 baht in transport costs.

Willcox, 81 and originally from the USA, started the foundation 24 years ago and runs it with his wife, Piranan. It is funded by donations and its motto is: “Never look down on anyone unless you are helping them up.”