Nigeria has more polio than any country in the world. It is one of only three countries where polio is still endemic. There are tens of thousands of Nigerian children and adults who spend their lives crawling on the ground. Hundreds of millions of dollars has been given by Rotary International, the Gates Foundation and others toward polio eradication, but precious little is being done for the victims.

In 1999, Ayuba Gufwan, a polio survivor who walks on his hands, and Dr. Ron Rice, a retired pastor from Seattle, founded Beautiful Gate Handicapped Peoples Center, to build wheelchairs for polio survivors. They have their own shop in Jos, Nigeria, with 25 employees, where they build a self-pedaled “tricycle” made of bicycle parts, for $150. So far they have built and donated over 6000 wheelchairs, far more than any other organization in all of Nigeria. They have given wheelchairs in 23 of Nigeria’s 36 states, at churches, schools, universities, colleges of education, government offices, emir’s palaces, mosques and many other venues. They have recently developed a prosthetics shop to make artificial legs, and have given out hundreds of crutches and almost 1000 folding white canes to blind students at the University of Jos and several schools for the blind.

Beautiful Gate is making a powerful peacemaking witness in a country racked with religious violence, because they freely give out wheelchairs to both Christians and Muslims, without discrimination. Both Christian and Muslim workers are employed in the shop, as well as 5 who are polio survivors themselves.

World Renew is partnering with Beautiful Gate to raise money to build more wheelchairs, a partnership promoted by Rudy Wiebe of Christian Studies International, who teaches Christian Studies at the Federal College of Education, Pankshin in Nigeria. Ayuba Gufwan is a great inspiration and example to the disabled in Nigeria, where the attitude is that a disabled person will never amount to anything. He is a graduate of the Law Faculty of the University of Jos, the only university graduate in the history of his village. He is married with 3 children, a member of Rotary International, was the world’s only polio survivor invited to Geneva to address a high-level conference on polio at the World Health Organization, and drives his own vehicle with hand controls 50,000 miles a year all over Nigeria arranging wheelchair presentations.

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