The Rotary Club of Fresno has been involved for several years in the distribution in third world countries of wheelchairs assisting those in need. The Wheelchair Committee of the Rotary Club of Fresno thanks the efforts and generosity of its members, Rotary District 5230, Rotary International, and the Wheelchair Foundation for their support and participation in this project.

Since 2003, 2,940 wheelchairs have been delivered by our members to Burundi, Costa Rica, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Rwanda, and Zimbabwe. In 2011 we will deliver a further 100 wheelchairs to Swaziland and 280 wheelchairs to South Africa.

Recognition is provided for each $150 or more contributed in the form of a beautiful gold embossed Presentation Folder containing the photo of a wheelchair recipient with their name, age, country and a certificate thanking the donor. These folders make excellent holiday, birthday, anniversary, graduation or commemorative gifts. Folders can be inscribed to the donor, or an acknowledgement, of the donation in honor of, memory of, or in the name of a special person in your life. As a gift to each of our speakers, a wheelchair is donated in their name and they are presented with a picture of the recipient.

In February 2007 a group of eight Fresno Rotarians and others spent between one and three weeks in Kigali, Rwanda and the surrounding countryside to deliver wheelchairs. This delivery was a joint effort of the Rotary Club of Kigali and the Rotary Club of Fresno. During this visit we also reviewed our very successful solar and integrated cooking programs and presented to the Women’s Club’s of Rwanda 40 sewing machines to use in the making of hay baskets (thermos) for those programs.

The wheelchairs that are distributed are obtained through the Wheelchair Foundation and are all newly manufactured by several factories in Asia. They are specifically designed for use in developing countries on unimproved or non-existent roads.