EL SALVADOR — Through its flagship Wheels for the World™ program, Joni and Friends collects and restores used wheelchairs, then delivers the like-new chairs to people around the world in need of mobility equipment.Joni and Friends recently opened its first international wheelchair restoration center, located in El Salvador—the first of multiple centers slated to open across the globe. These international centers will train and employ local people, many with disabilities, to restore used wheelchairs to like-new condition. Restored chairs will be distributed throughout the region of the restoration center to people who can’t otherwise access the mobility equipment they need.
Laura Gardner – President, Joni and Friends:
Hello friends, I’m Laura Gardner, President of Joni and Friends, and we are excited today to be in El Salvador with the ribbon cutting of our very first International Wheelchair Restoration Center.
There were many challenges that the pandemic presented to Joni and Friends, one of which was the logistics of getting restored wheelchairs to our countries in which we were distributing.
And so during the pandemic, we brainstormed and we decided why not open international restoration centers throughout the globe.
Gerardo – Shop Supervisor, International Restoration Center:
We restore the wheelchairs we receive from donors. We clean them and we get them ready for kids and adults in El Salvador and other countries in the region.
What we love about this international restoration center is it’s not only about providing wheelchairs, but we’re also focused on economic development of the community.
Sergio – Office Supervisor, International Restoration Center:
Here at the restoration center, There is a priority to hire people affected directly or indirectly by a disability. They don’t just come to be served. They learn how to serve other people with disability.
Javier – International Restoration Center:
Since becoming disabled, I’ve worked a variety of street vending jobs. But because of the pandemic, I lost my job. I think it is quite rewarding to be able to work in an area that affects us directly and in a very personal way.
Eder – International Restoration Center:
Thanks be to God, Joni’s House has taken me into consideration, so that I can give back a little bit of what God has given me, using what mobility I have, even though I have a disability.
The work of love I have seen directly from all Joni and friends contributors has changed my whole perspective. Now, I desire to contribute my skills not only here in the Restoration Center, but I put my heart into this work because these chairs will bless many people.
We thank everybody supporting the Restoration Center because you are providing hope, wheelchairs and jobs to many people in El Salvador.
This is a very first for us and we’re looking forward to opening more around the world. Thank you for your support for Joni and Friends and also for our Wheels for the World program.
About Joni and Friends
For 40 years, Joni and Friends has provided the hope of the Gospel and practical resources to people affected by disability around the globe. Ministry programs include Wheels for the World, Family Retreats, the Christian Institute on Disability, and church ministry training. Joni and Friends also delivers inspirational media such as the Joni and Friends radio program and podcasts. To find out more, please visit www.joniandfriends.org.
- Global News Alliance, Ian’s Perfect Gift: A Pediatric Wheelchair and Gospel Hope
- Joni and Friends, Official Website