The Laurel Wheeler Foundation took our launch trip to Russia, Georgia and Armenia in September of 2017. We would like to share a trip highlight video we created shortly after we returned. We hope you enjoy our video! Note to our blind and visually impaired followers. The video contains still pictures from our trip with text on screen. The audio is Armenian duduk music. We hope to add a Voiceover to the video soon in order to improve accessibility. Please continue scrolling to read the text contained in the video.
Bringing Sunshine to Russia, Georgia and Armenia: The Laurel Wheeler Foundation 2017 Launch Trip. International relief for the blind and visually impaired through the gift of technology and training, educational opportunities, networking, team building and partnering relationships. We are called to bring good news to the poor, help those who are in need, hope to the oppressed and to release a season of blessing. Formed in 2017, the Laurel Wheeler Foundation was created out of the passion in Laurel’s heart to serve the blind and visually impaired in Russia, Georgia and Armenia. Such wonderful places and beautiful people. However, those who are blind or visually impaired have very limited opportunities and great needs. We hope to change that. Working with our partner Sipan Asatrian and Radio Menq, an internet radio station specifically created for the blind with over 1000 current listeners, we hope to start a much needed new organization for the blind community of Armenia. We have already sponsored new programming to reach this precious audience. A seed has been planted in many hearts and a fire of passion is now burning. We believe we will see great blessing flow in Armenia! This is Sipan Asatrian’s family. (The video shows a photo of Sipan and family). Sipan is also a student in a doctoral program and in need of technology. We were able to give Sipan a brand new computer! We look forward to hosting a conference in Armenia soon. Our trip actually started in Russia. Alyona Zirko is a doctoral level student in Moscow who needed a phone. Now she has an iPhone! A business woman named Lena received a much needed braille display and iPhone. We blessed several other students in Moscow with new iPhones, computers and braille displays. We attended a conference for people with disabilities and made many new friends. This is Shristi from Nepal. (Video shows a photo of Shristi). She also runs an organization that helps the blind. The conference was a good place to meet new people and organizations like Oleg Kolpashchnikov and the White Cane NGO, one of our new partners! We then flew to Yerevan and took a wild ride to Tbilisi, Georgia. Although it was hot and dry we saw signs of life. We met with the leader of the Georgian Blind Union. We are also partnering with organizations and leaders. We met with the US embassy in Armenia and Georgia and with famous musicians. We hope to bring many people together to network on behalf of the blind and visually impaired. There are 8000 blind and visually impaired people in Georgia, half of whom live in Tbilisi. We served on the streets with these young doctors and connected with friends. We love this place and these people and can’t wait to return. We are currently raising funds for additional requests for computers, smartphones and braille technology, a food distribution program for the blind in Georgia, additional programming for Radio Menq, a request for resources at the Armenian school for the blind and a conference for the blind in Armenia. We would like to help develop better living conditions for the blind and someday have a training center here in the U.S. “All you have to do to help others is be willing!” Laurel Wheeler.