Copyright © Muintir Mhuire 2014.

Christian Community Experience For Young People

2009. Muintir Mhuire friends of the disabled

Later in the month the bus was released from the I.W.A. and Godfrey and Jackie drove it to Cork. Buckley Brothers Spray Paint­ers painted it but we needed someone with a C license to drive it out. Seamus Wilkinson volunteered and his brother in law, Joe, offered to help. Soon we had been given a variety of disability equipment which included 2 Hoists for lifting the Disabled, 2 Electric Scooters, 2 Elec­tric Wheelchairs for the Disabled, 4 Push wheelchairs, walking aids and approximately 20 boxes of wheelchair occupant’s accessories and also baby clothes which all went on the bus.

On a Thursday afternoon (the same time that Sr. Grace was taking her first vows in Italy) Seamus and Joe left for Rosslaire. They travelled through Ireland, England, Holland, Germany, Austria, Slovenia, Croatia and finally into Bosnia after 5 days and having two setbacks at the customs in Croatia and Bosnia. After a total journey 3500km they finally arrived at Europa late Monday evening. Some of the disabled children asked their parents to go to Europa where they might see the bus. One young man visited Europa and asked to see the bus but it had gone to be reregistered.

In the last 7 years we have through generous supporters and the outstanding work of Frank Terry, Godfrey and Jackie Carpen­ter, Keith Sheehan and others been able to supply approximately 80 electric wheelchairs, about 12 per year sometimes meeting the person who needs the chair and assessing the right type of chair for them, hundreds of wheelchairs and walking aids, a wheelchair bus, numer­ous electric and manual hoists, electric scooters, and much more i.e. nappies, sudocreme etc. These have been distributed to a broad catch­ment area. More importantly we are trying to link Susret (Friends of the Disabled) to charitable organizations in Ireland which would enable them to receive much more material and educational support from Ireland.

After that initial meeting with Fr. Donal in Neum Godfrey Car­penter invited Fr. Donal and Keith to Dublin to explore the possibility of getting more aid. During a visit to the Irish Wheelchair Association we were offered a wheelchair bus that they had recently replaced after ten years of service. It had just over 30,000 miles done and was still in good condition.

On our return to Medjugorje we spoke with Dragan Kozinaabout this bus and he agreed that it would be of great use if they could import it. He told us that there was a new group “Friends of the Disa­bled” who were currently trying to raise funds for a bus. We met with Jasminka the mother of a disabled child. She was the president of this group. She had recently returned from abroad and was appalled at the lack of services for disabled people. In the Citluk region alone there were 70 disabled people 30 of whom could go to school if they had the facilities. Most were without even wheelchairs.