Marcela’s Wheelchair in El Salvador: For Every Wheelchair Given, Millions are Needed

EL SALVADOR — The World Health Organization estimates that over 75 million people in the world today need a wheelchair, and more than 85% of them can’t access one*. The brunt of these unmet needs hits people in developing nations, like Marcela in El Salvador.

Marcela suffered cardio-respiratory arrest at birth, which caused cerebral palsy. Marcela’s father, Arnoldo, her primary caregiver, adores his daughter and thanks God for her life.   Despite his dedication, Arnoldo struggles to meet Marcela’s practical needs, including her need for a properly fitted wheelchair. Using an outgrown wheelchair, Marcela faced an ongoing risk as her spastic movements can cause her to fall.

Then Arnoldo found out about a Joni and Friends Wheels for the World™ outreach in El Salvador. He brought Marcela, who received a new, custom-fitted wheelchair that will keep her safe.

Arnoldo AraozMarcela’s Father:

It’s sad, but oftentimes we’re looked at with pity. It’s difficult because as a parent we all want to see our children being independent and that they arrive to that moment. So with Marcela, my dream is that God would give me strength to be with her each day, making her day joyful.

Marcela’s disability is infantile cerebral palsy. She has problems in her brain due to a cardio-respiratory arrest she suffered at birth. She needs a lot of help. Regarding the wheelchair, it’s very important for us. In fact, it was one of our main concerns because the issue with the previous wheelchair. There was a time when Marcela would make her old chair move because Marcela weighed a lot more than the chair and her size wasn’t correct for that chair. It caused the break to release, and she fell and hit her face.

We were very concerned about not being able to get a new wheelchair. By my own means I couldn’t buy a wheelchair, therefore I am very grateful to everybody who makes these kind of events possible. I know there is a very special effort to help people who need this type of equipment.

Read more news on Faith Based / Non Profit Organizations, Disability, Christian Ministry and Compassion Services on Missions Box.

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

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