No. 55 – A Wheelchair for Zoyla

Kids are amazing. We adults need to take some lessons from them. They see a problem they care about, they come up with the simplest solution and then dive into making it happen. There’s no doubtful thinking or political maneuvering. They just do it. If our world leaders approached international relations with the same honesty, compassion, commitment and rational thinking that kids show us, I have to believe the world would be in a much better state.

I’ve watched an example of the pure heart kids put into problem-solving just recently. Over the last month or so our girls have stayed committed to helping a little girl they’ve never even met. Back in Peru we learned about Misioneras de la Caridad, a program supported by Mother Teresa’s foundation out of Calcutta. This orphanage takes in orphans with disabilities young and old and tries to give them the best life possible with the limited resources available. Our friend Aracelly at The Meeting Place, where we spent a day for a previous volunteer project, works regularly to help the orphanage get the supplies and staff support it needs. One young girl Aracelly told us about has captured the hearts of our daughters, and now they’re committed to doing everything they can to help her. I’ll let Emily tell you her story.

Emily Introduces You to Zoila
I’ve been passionate about helping people ever since we went to Ethiopia, so when it reaches my ears that there’s a girl in Peru whose wheelchair is three sizes too small, my mind’s eye immediately snaps to: us, fundraising, wheelchair.

Zoyla is fourteen years old and she desperately needs a new chair. She can’t hold up her head, so she spends her days staring up at the ceiling. She’s still growing which makes the problem worse with each passing day. Her position in this too-small chair has led to sores and tumors developing on the back of her head and neck. Yet despite all of this, the people around Zoyla say she’s happy and loving to everyone she meets. As much as her caretakers want to help her, the orphanage is low on funds. A Kanga TS Pediatric Tilt In Space 12″ Seat Wheelchair is a bit outside their budget.
Girl in need of new wheelchair
You may be wondering, “Why this one specific girl?” So many people in the world have problems like this, so why are we focusing on Zoyla? In second grade, for a writing assignment the teachers asked us to share a story with the class about what we did over the summer. They called it a “watermelon seed story.” This means, as they explained it, that our summers were like big watermelons. For our stories, we were supposed to zoom in on one little seed. Focus on one moment. This exercise was supposed to teach us how to write short stories, not ones that are too long.

This idea for writing is similar to how we can all help change the world. There are a lot of bad things happening to a lot of people. I want to help them all, but right now I can focus in on one person by helping Zoyla. I can make her life happier and more comfortable. So that’s what I’m going to do. This is how I choose to change the world right now…in this moment.

Liv, Ali and I have been working on this project for about a month now. We had a lemonade stand in Nicaragua and will come up with more ideas in the US. We’re trying to raise $2152 to get a wheelchair that will suit Zoyla’s needs and pay for the cost of getting it to her in Peru. So far we only have $40. Compared to what we’re trying to raise, we know that’s not a lot. But we’re not going to QUIT!

Gofundme campaignBecause we’ve never done anything this big before, we’re trying something new. After researching it, we’ve set up a GoFundMe web page to see if our readers, friends and family would want to help us in our efforts to change Zoila’s life. If you’d like to contribute you can access our new fundraising campaign at If we have any extra money left over, it will be donated to the Misioneras de la Caridad orphanage to help them buy the many supplies they need to support the children and elderly in their care.

Zoila and the people living with her at Misioneras de la Caridad deserve so much more from life than what they’ve been given. Setting our sights on buying this wheelchair for Zoyla is just one small thing we can do for one person. It may not seem like a big deal, but like the watermelon seeds, these little good deeds are tiny parts of something very big. My sisters and I want to plant this one seed for Zoyla and watch how it grows.
Children in wheelchairsBoy by cribElderly woman at orphanageAbandoned girlEdlerly at orphanageunnamed

About the Author

Mom, wife, friend and change agent traveling the world with my family to learn our place in it. After spending a career in organizational change management and community initiative implementation, I put my career on hold for our family's trip around the world. In April of 2014 we sold almost everything we own, put the rest in a storage container, and departed on this journey. While my husband continued his software development work to financially support our trip, I planned and documented our adventure, homeschooled our three daughters, and found volunteer work opportunities for us to do in the communities we visit. Now that we've returned to the U.S., I'm completing book about our family's adventure and our lessons learned.

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  1. Tracey, your girls truly are an inspiration. This project is amazing, and I am so excited to help support it in any way that I can. Good luck to Emily, Liv, and Ali! xx

  2. Check out Caps of Love program – they provide wheelchairs and you might be able to get assistance thru them. I think currently they might provide in this country but should have plenty of contacts. Best of luck to you and your family.

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