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Background

In today’s world of humanitarian service, grassroots charities who keep their finger on the pulse of those in need, are being squeezed out of existence by:

  • wasteful mega charity bureaucracies
  • often administrated by a new breed of highly paid
  • multiple degree professionals
  • who have often completely lost touch with the purpose of their charity
  • and with grassroots recipients
  • who see giving as a corporate investment rather than an act of human compassion

2195-01-07 20-52-13_0009Our Foundation, in contrast, was founded on compassion and there it will remain.  We are a private charity by law and not an investment institution.  If donors are interested in hands-on results as opposed to creative hyperbole and jargon, we invite your support.

We are a “grassroots” facility with a one-on-one human touch. We are referred to as  “field workers” who work directly with people in need as opposed to administrators who work in offices. In this way we provide hope and optimism as alternatives to despair.

We depend entirely upon individual and private charitable donations. We receive no direct government support.

“Many hands make light work” so please “give us a hand” by making a donation!

Early Days

We are a legally registered Thai non-profit charity founded in 1993 to “promote the health, education, employment, and dignity of disabled persons”.

Originally the foundation provided free classes to disabled persons in English,computer, drafting, Thai massage, and music.  As we matured, we transferred our educational support to the Yardfon Vocational Training Center For The Physically Disabled at Mae Taeng, Thailand where we funded and provided staff for the region’s first computer training program (today enjoying its 12th successful year).

slide show 3_tmpFor many years we offered various services free of charge including wheelchairs, walking aids, safety and health information, home visits, companionship and understanding. We have helped thousands of disabled persons over our 20 year history. We have worked hands-on with every kind of human disability including polio, muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy, trauma and diabetic amputation, heart attack, stroke, vision impairment, deafness, and mental retardation. When needed, and in extreme situations of poverty or neglect, we have also provided employment, caregivers, hospital beds, wheeled gurneys, food, and more recently provided more than 15,000 elderly rural Thais with reading glasses in partnership with Rotary.

Freedom Wheelchair Workshop

As we became aware of unfilled disability needs (especially for rural Thai citizens), we not only established the Freedom Wheelchair Workshop in the year 2000.

For many years, we produced a broad variety of mobility aids including wheelchairs, gurneys, walkers; crutches, ramps and even grab bars to insure disabled stability.  At peak capacity, our disabled staff (in line with space and funding) produced from 5-7 mobility aids per month, but as our work became known all across north Thailand and beyond, the demand for our wheelchairs greatly exceeded our resources to produce them.

Empowering people

We also funded and encouraged several disabled owned and managed business ventures including craft sales, an internet shop, a laundry service, a 24 hour care facility for children with spastic cerebral palsy, a Thai massage service, a snack bar, an auto repair, and even a disabled art gallery.  These efforts were undertaken in the hope of releasing them from our control and into the hands of the disabled.  We were able to achieve our goal of owner independence except for our more complex wheelchair workshop which involved multiple disabled staff and often complicated logistics.

Focus & Prioritization

It was at this time that we not only moved our facilities outside the congested center of downtown Chiang Mai into an expanded and healthy rural rice growing environment at Doi Saket (40 minutes east of the city), but also made the decision to target foundation energies more toward providing desperately needed free mobility aids to the countless Thais who lack the funds to purchase them.

Although these recent changes downsized many of our former regional services, this re-focus has allowed us to dramatically improve our ability to provide free mobility aids all across Thailand from north to south and from east to west.  Today we have now provided more than 4,000 free wheelchairs since the workshop was established.  Whereas we formerly provided up to 72 of our own chairs per year, we today provide several hundred. Another important improvement has been that we have dramatically reduced our former and costly salaried staff overhead thanks to wonderfully dedicated friends, volunteers, and partners.

We endeavor never to say NO to a disabled person in need regardless of ethnic, religion, or political affiliation. Our mission is simple: to improve the lives of disabled persons who are in need.

We assist those in need who do not have the resources to help themselves.