Our story begins with the vision of Ayuba Gufwan, polio survivor and founder of the Beautiful Gate Handicapped People Center in Jos, Nigeria.

Ayuba contracted polio when he was four years old. His family sent him to a special school to teach him to walk. When Ayuba finished the third grade, his father told him it was a waste of money to keep paying school fees for a boy who walked on his hands.

When he was 19 years old, his uncle built him a wheelchair, and he went back to the fourth grade. With enormous determination he finished high school and teachers’ college, and the Law School Faculty at the University of Jos. He is a Rotarian, is married, has five children, and he is dedicated to helping the thousands of disabled polio victims Ayuba’s story

In 1999 he met Dr. Ron Rice, a retired Presbyterian pastor from Seattle, Washington. Together they formed a partnership called Beautiful Gate Handicapped People Center. They opened a workshop employing local residents to build self-peddled tricycles from locally distributed bicycle parts and give them to polio victims.

In early 2008, Ann Lee Hussy, a Rotarian, past District Governor from Maine, and a polio survivor, met Ayuba as a participant in a Polio National Immunization Day.  She had known of his workshop, but this was their first actual meeting:

In my mind, what Ayuba and his associates were doing with so little recalled a quotation from Dr. Jonas Salk, who developed the anti-polio vaccine:  “Hope lies in dreams, in imagination, and in the courage of those who dare to make dreams into reality….”

Feeling the courage and imagination welling from Ayuba’s soul, I knew his dreams would become reality and I wanted to be part of them. 

Shortly after returning home from that providential meeting, Ann Lee met Al Bonney, president-elect of the Rotary Club of Traverse City, Michigan, and asked him to lead a grant application effort which could benefit the Beautiful Gate Handicapped People Center. Al recalls:
We met at the Rotary International Convention in Los Angeles, and I was immediately impressed by the potential of helping the Beautiful Gate,” recalls Al. “As a polio survivor, Ann Lee’s passion for this project was readily apparent. There was no question in my mind that I wanted to be part of Ayuba’s dream too.

There followed a series of alliances and hands-across-the-globe efforts which led to a $136,000 Rotary Foundation matching grant for supplies and equipment to build 1000 wheelchairs. Led by the Casco Bay Sunrise and Traverse City Rotary clubs, 25 other Rotary clubs on three continents joined the Rotary Foundation and the Polio Survivors Rotary Action Group to finally, in January of 2010, send a check for $136,000 to the Rotary Club of Naraguta in Jos, Nigeria enabling Ayuba to accelerate his work.

So in January of 2010, the Beautiful Gate Handicapped People Center began ordering equipment which would improve manufacturing efficiency, and the necessary bicycle parts to build and distribute 800 wheelchairs to polio survivors across the northern five states in Nigeria that continued to have new polio cases every year.

Since the need for wheelchairs remains unfulfilled, Wheels of Hope was created to provide the Beautiful Gate Handicapped People Center with a way to sustain its efforts in the future.

Thus, the hands-around-the-world alliance continues.  And your wheelchair purchase contributes to that life….