International Missions

Walking Free Program

An international prosthetic and orthotic installation, production, and training program coupled with physical rehabilitation education.

At its inception in 2000, Walking Free was co-created, by David Lawrence, as a program of Physicians for Peace, an American not-for-profit based in Norfolk, Virginia. During the following years Walking Free actively developed projects in countries including Turkey, Jordan, Dominican Republic, Philippines, Haiti, and Guatemala to grow partnerships with rehabilitation professionals in developing education and training programs. In 2015 a decision by Physicians for Peace to downsize and refocus its efforts toward primary care and surgical medicine created a partnership gap for the Walking Free project.

The desire to reestablish itself led to a new partnership for Walking Free as the program evolved during this transition. The Mission Gait Foundation, founded by David Lawrence in 2016 was the ideal 501(c)(3) organization which now serves in partnership with Walking Free. Gail Grisetti MPT EdD joined the Board of Mission Gait as the Director of the Walking Free program, and Gilbert Mejia CPO serves as the coordinator of Prosthetics and Orthotics. All three were members of the Walking Free Team with Physicians for Peace.

The focus of Mission Gait is to empower the physical rehabilitation community, through education, training, and research, to help individuals with complex gait disabilities. Along with this leadership, Walking Free will continue its mission of “training, supporting, and empowering rehabilitation professionals in developing nations, revolutionizing the care they provide to the most marginalized in their communities

The Walking Free collaboration with Mission Gait provides a platform for outreach and growth with maximum patient impact. For example: We provide hundreds of high-quality educational resources available to the global community at no cost on YouTube. Also, in 2019 we began research on a new project in the Solomon Islands. Though delayed by COVID, that project was launched in-country in 2023 with the first of its kind replicable and portable container laboratory.

Our Philosophy
From the beginning, Walking Free’s philosophy has followed that of Physicians for Peace: “Teach one. Heal many.”

Through community partnerships, education, and empowerment, Walking Free increases the capacity of providers who already live and work in underserved areas, giving them a strong foundation for patient care. As each project grows, clinics become self-reliant. That is our ultimate goal- to empower practitioners to operate independently. Mission Gait will continue this model of innovative care and empowerment.

WALKING FREE MISSION

The Solomon Islands Project

In June 2021, Walking Free, the international division of Mission Gait, signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Ministry of Health and Medical Services, Solomon Islands, to bring state-of-the-art prosthetic care to amputees living in the country. The project is unique in its design as it will provide a fully outfitted prosthetic shop inside of a 40’ shipping container. The container will have all the equipment and tools needed to create artificial limbs.

WALKING FREE MISSION

The Dominican Republic Project

Walking Free’s involvement in the Dominican Republic began in 2001. At the request of the Ministry of Health, Walking Free was invited to consult in the area of prosthetics and orthotics as the government began to evaluate methods to provide training and education to Dominicans who were working in the area at that time.

Donate

Help Us Advance Our Mission

To support our International Walking Free Program, click on the button below to donate or you may also donate by check. Make payable to Mission Gait Foundation. Specify “Walking Free” on the memo line. Mail to 8191 Staples Mill Road, Richmond, Virginia 23228.