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Wheelchair Recycling for the Disabled

"The wheelchair is their legs, helping them to get out of bed and see the world," said Monk Thich Duc Minh.


Monk Thich Duc Minh was born in 1982 and has been a Buddhist since childhood. He chose the monastic path of studying Buddhism at An Vien Dao Trang (district 12, Ho Chi Minh City). Seeing people with disabilities, suffering from illness, losing their ability to work, and not being able to afford a wheelchair, Minh came up with the idea of recycling wheelchairs.

In 2015, Minh had the opportunity to visit hospitals where many people were undergoing rehabilitation treatment.Realizing that the patients could only use wheelchairs in the hospital and had no wheelchair at home to do physical therapy exercises, Minh thought of giving free wheelchairs to the disabled.

"I returned to the temple and started looking for wheelchairs. Later, when the number of people in need increased, I couldn't to do it. Instead, I bought secondhand wheelchairs and fixed them. In the beginning, I bought old wheelchairs for 200,000-300,000 dong. Others were wheelchairs which Buddhists donated," said the monk.


Monk Thich Duc Minh takes the materials to repair wheel-chairs.
Monk Thich Duc Minh takes recycled parts to save costs. 
Monk Duc Minh cleans wheel-chairs before recycling them.
Carefully selecting each wheel-chair before presenting them to needy people.
Carefully selecting each wheel-chair before presenting them to needy people.

Minh began to learn about the structure of the wheelchair and bought components for assembly. "There was a wheelchair with only its iron frame left. I went to Cho Lon (Big Market) to buy rear wheels, wooden panels and burlap. If something was missing, I bought components to fill it. The wheelchair is the legs of disabled people, so I want to make it very stable so that they can feel secure step by step," Minh shared.

Monk Thich Duc Minh has given more than 3,000 wheelchairs to many disabled people all over the country. 


The monk said that the most important thing is needing to create wheelchairs suited to the recipients because each person has different conditions. Some people have injured their hands, some have disabilities in their legs, and some are paralyzed.

"When I see the disabled moving with the wheelchairs I repair, I feel like they are helping me. Donating wheelchairs is like allowing them to integrate and develop, helping them fulfill their dream of seeing the world,” Minh said.

Besides giving free wheelchairs, Minh also financially supports medical treatment and takes care of the patients at the temple.

By THONG HAI Translated by HONG HANH