Buddhist monks produces free wheelchairs

MCOT News, March 27, 2008

Lopburi, Thailand -- Phra Khru Boonchuay Khantivaro is the abbot of Mongkhol Thep Prasit Temple in the central province of Lopburi.

Over the past ten years, he has led a group of villagers in producing wheelchairs, efforts which have helped a total of 4,000 disabled people to carry out their errands and daily life.

“Some disabled people cannot run an errand. Therefore, we want to help them. A finished wheelchair is delivered to the provincial administration, which can give it away at its own choice. But my wheelchairs cannot be sold.”, said Phra Khru Boonchuay.

Phra Khru used cash donations from his temple to buy wheelchair frames and major parts.

Before entering the monkhood, Phra Khru Boonchuay was a mechanic. That’s how he’s able to produce a wheelchair which costs about 3,000 Baht, while a typical one is sold at around 10,000 Baht. His team can produce a total of around 300 – 400 wheelchairs per month.

Despite his goodwill, some cynics said the abbot initiated the project in the hope of gaining publicity. The abbot said the criticism was only natural.

"At first, the criticism was rather strong. But it has been less severe. Criticism is an unavoidable component of our life. What we should do is to keep doing good deeds in order to pay for our sins in a past life.", said Phra Khru Boonchuay.

Despite being a Buddhist monk, Phra Khru Boonchuay took several years to prove his good intentions.

He has promised to carry on the charity project for many years to come.