THE Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints partnered with the Cebu Provincial Government to give out free wheelchairs to persons with disabilities (PWDs).
Elder Dennis Smith met with Gov. Hilario Davide III yesterday to talk about the project.
Apart from giving out wheelchairs, Smith said that the Church will also conduct trainings for PWDs on how to use the wheelchairs.
A memorandum of agreement will be signed by the Provincial Government and the Church for the distribution of wheelchairs.
“We chose the provinces that are ready to do this. We see that your province has indicated that they’re ready to embrace this,” said Smith.
He said that the Church has the funds from its LDS charities.
George Kenneth Lee, welfare project manager, said that the LDS charities is the humanitarian arm of the church, which is also known as the Mormon Church.
Lee said that the goal of the project is to help the PWDs to be more self-reliant.
“So when they have their wheelchair, they would be able to go back to school and work. Not just being stuck in their homes,” said George.
Darwin Clark Mandig, stake president, said that the Church will send a cargo container full of wheelchairs. The Province will then assign a staff who will take charge of the distribution.
“One particular rule is that once we send out the wheelchairs, we will be having local members of the church who will make sure that it’s given to those who are disabled (persons),” Mandig said.
The Church will set some requirements on who will qualify as project beneficiaries.
“First, they must be poor and not be able to afford it. Second, we (would) like them to earn their wheelchair and they do that through community service,” said Smith.
The PWDs’ relatives can also help them do the community service.
On the training of PWDs, Mandig said that the Church has four certified trainers in the Philippines. The training will last for three days.
Smith hopes that the distribution of the wheelchairs will be done about three months from now.
The Church also gave out wheelchairs in Iloilo, Davao City, Misamis Oriental, Sarangani and provinces in Luzon. (With Jasmin Marie P. Ylaya, USJ-R Mass Comm Intern)