In January, Mano a Mano packed and shipped one 40-ft container (our first container from our new office/warehouse location!) with almost 20,000 pounds of custom-made wheelchairs from Hope Haven International, an Iowa-based nonprofit whose mission is “to assist persons with disabilities to reach their potential.”

Note From Mano a Mano’s Executive Director

Our Executive Director, Dan Narr,  is currently in Bolivia taking part in the distribution of these wheelchairs at the Mano a Mano Aviation hangar, and he sent the note below to our board members and staff about his experience this week:

I am in Bolivia this week taking part in the collaborative partnership with Hope Haven. Just as a reminder, we shipped about 200 wheelchairs built for more severely handicapped individuals in January. Since then, a team of professional volunteer doctors and orthopedic therapists (18 people) traveled to custom fit these chairs for 200 people. I have attached a picture that demonstrates the dramatic difference a chair can make for a child.

A happy wheelchair recipient!

A happy wheelchair recipient!

I don’t think there are words that could possibly share the depth of joy these families have for this amazing gift. As the mothers watch, they sob knowing how wonderful this gift is and knowing their child has a chair that’s functional. There have been a number of severely handicapped children who have never had a chair. When they enter they are laid down on a mat until they are called by a team who works to make each chair perfect. I will have a large collection of pictures and video when I return and will share more in the coming days, weeks.

I have seen amazing stories of everyday heroes from the campo in Bolivia who do amazing things to give their children what they can during my tenure at Mano a Mano. This is another one of those amazing stories that will rip your heart out of your chest, and every tear I shed this week is a tear of joy and I am so thankful to everyone in the US and Bolivia that have made this project possible. I have already received my holiday gift this year. I need nothing more.

– Dan Narr, Mano a Mano International Partners Executive Director