Tag Archives: wheelchair

Annual report 2020

Despite the pandemic running rampant in Mexico with frighteningly high numbers and temporary lockdowns, some of our activities proceeded in the usual spheres, while new cases of need arose in other areas.

In the first category, we would like to mention the home for chronically ill people in Tepexpan, where we were able to help out again this year with wheelchairs (this time mainly special wheelchairs with raised and adjustable backrests) and other supplies, as well as repair of their conventional wheelchairs. Through contact with another aid organization, we were able to ensure that the old, worn-out shower chairs there were replaced by 3 new ones (we are still 9 short). However, these were delivered with such small wheels that, given the less than optimal ground conditions, they were dangerously unstable in the reclining position, so that we had to arrange for an improvement with larger wheels.

One of the new conventional wheelchairs for Tepexpan
Repaired wheelchairs for our protégés in Tepexpan

We continued our collaboration with the Vincentian Sisters with monetary donations to purchase seeds for the post in the remote mountainous Tarahumara region, along with financial support for the Provincial House in Mexico City.

Results of our seed donation to farmers in the Tarahumara mountain region
Results of our seed donation to farmers in the Tarahumara mountain region

Our protégé Omar was hit hard by the pandemic, since the schools in Mexico have been closed for a long time and they have switched to distance learning. Although the principal even loaned him an internet-enabled laptop, Omar unfortunately misses the contact with other students that has been so positive for him. On the other hand, it’s fortunate that he was able to continue two sessions of physical therapy a week without interruption. All in all, however, due to the pandemic it will take longer than originally thought until we can help him transition to an independent working life.

Omar in late 2020

In addition to support for the Vincentian Sisters in Mexico City, pandemic-related measures included financial assistance in purchasing an oxygen tank for a sick person and buying medical masks for two hospitals and the previous medical director’s staff of the hospital in Tepexpan.

Full of despair in view of the tourism sector’s total standstill, the family of weavers from Teotitlán del Valle, Oaxaca, whom we have known quite well for many years, turned to us with a request for a loan. At our suggestion, the family’s high school graduate, whom we had supported with a small amount of money, very skillfully put together a catalog. We and many of our friends distributed it more widely, leading to a number of orders after all.

That sums up our activities for the year that’s coming to an end. What the new year will bring is now more than ever uncertain.

Annual report 2019

Another year comes to an end, giving us a reason to look back and share our report. All in all, 2019 continued down a familiar path, with visits to the hospital for the chronically ill in Tepexpan, organizing the maintenance and repairs of wheelchairs, procuring medicine, donating special mattresses and hydrogels against bedsores, along with a new mattress for the massage table. One current focus is obtaining ten special wheelchairs with extended backrests, with total costs coming to 4,000 euros.

We helped our partners in the mountains of Chihuahua, the Vincentian Sisters, who care for the extremely poor indigenous population in remote places, with donations in kind and money for seeds, powdered milk, and fleece fabric for children’s winter clothing. 

In Oaxaca, we supported an exceptionally talented schoolgirl from a weaving village with a small monthly contribution toward her school fees. 

A further grant from us enabled a young man who lost a leg in a workplace accident to acquire a prosthesis with which he can work in construction and earn a living for his family. 

Finally, our activities continue in the Mazahua village of San Antonio de las Huertas. We have been supporting a woman there for some time who has gone blind from diabetes. Thanks to a special treatment, she can at least still see shadows. 

The main focus there, however, is our protégé Omar, for whom we have cared for twelve years and who has grown into a young man with a positive attitude and eagerness to learn despite his disability. Our goal is to free him from difficult family circumstances and the absolute lack of opportunities in the village so that he can enjoy the opportunity of education and a decent life in the city. The first important step in this direction was a surgical intervention that reduced stiffening in his joints and thus enabled him to move more easily. An indispensable companion treatment to this, however, is a very long and intensive rehabilitation process, which allowed him to take his first small steps with leg splints and crutches on his nineteenth birthday. This process, which should ultimately enable him to live mostly without the wheelchair, is far from over, although he is very disciplined and committed to his exercises. In the meantime, we have also found an institution that, while unfortunately not inexpensive, allows him to catch up on his secondary schooling in a compressed form, so that his future prospects are quite positive.

All of the above-mentioned activities are only possible thanks to the generosity of our donors, whom we thank with all our heart. We wish you all a happy New Year, full of good health and happy returns and, on behalf of our protégés as well, we send our best wishes!

Annual report 2018

In the past year, the scope of our activities was unavoidably dictated by restrictions on our human and financial resources and was mainly limited to support measures in the health sector.

As usual, we visited our friends with disabilities in Tepexpan several times and brought special pressure relief mattresses and pillows, as well as medicine, and took care of repairing some wheelchairs. Fortunately, we can now rely on the efficient support of our volunteer Enrique Vieyra and his wife Juanita in many areas in Tepexpan.

We also visited San Antonio de las Huertas several times and continue to look after our now grown-up protégé Omar, though his complicated family situation often presents obstacles. In addition, we are supporting a woman blinded by diabetes, who, thanks to special treatment, can at least see hazy shadows again.

We’re also continuing to work with the Vincentian Sisters in the mountains of the Sierra Tarahumara in Chihuahua on the Corre Coyote project. For the bitterly cold winter months we bought warm fabric from which children’s clothes were made. Our support was also used to buy powdered milk for the children and seeds, which produced a gratifyingly good harvest last year. 

In the south of the country, we continued to support the hospital in Juchitán, Oaxaca, which was severely damaged by the 2017 earthquake.

For a little girl with a thyroglossal duct cyst, we provided a grant for the necessary surgery. We also supported a young woman with spasticity with the purchase of various aids and in financing her surgery costs. For a handicapped little boy, we have commissioned a suitable wheelchair, for which the family only has to make a small contribution.

For one of our adult protégés, we have had a ramp built, which he can use to access his helpful neighbor’s car with his wheelchair. 

It was a special pleasure for us to participate in the festive ceremony where the student nurse, whom we have supported for years with a grant for travel expenses and tuition fees, received her academic degree.

Annual report 2015

As in past years, our activities over this period can be grouped, broadly speaking, into three aspects:

a) San Antonio de las Huertas:

In response to the high level of demand, this year once again saw the provision of water tanks at discount rates to this Mazahua village. Thanks to our organization and financing, which enables purchasers to pay easy installments tailored to their abilities, to date a total of 163 tanks with a capacity of 1,200 liters, together with ten cisterns with a capacity of 2,800 liters. This enables the respective families to compensate for variations in the supply of drinking water and, above all, to take proper advantage of water runoff in the rainy season.

In relation to oyster mushroom cultivation, before winter began we organized a timely consultation session with Colin from the Finca La Venturosa on how to avoid damage due to cold weather. Training was also offered in administration and accounting matters.

For the general population of the village, we were able to make available two new sources of support. In February we visited the area with a group of Boy Scouts who had previously organized a large collection of clothes, toys, and CDs. With these a great bazaar was set up in the main square, which was enthusiastically received by the local Mazahua people. Although only symbolic prices were charged, in the range of 5-10 pesos, the Scouts raised a good sum of money for the benefit of the local upper secondary school. The exceptional success of this activity motivated those in charge of the Scout group to make a longer term commitment to the village. For example, in November older boys from the group organized a two day workshop on trash collection and recycling for students at this school, while it was an adult Scout leader who delivered the course on accounting for those involved in oyster mushroom cultivation.

Meanwhile, the staff and administration of the “Viva Zapata” travel agency decided to celebrate their 25th anniversary by supporting a social project instead of spending money on a party. Hearing about this plan, which was open to entries, we decided to propose a project to construct a ramp for the steep slope of the secondary school, so that our young friend Omar, who finished primary school last summer, would be able to attend in his wheelchair. Our project was not only accepted as winner, with “Viva Zapata” contributing most of the cost of the ramp (the labor was provided by the parents of the students), but the event was celebrated with an excursion for all the agency’s staff, who also brought a large quantity of paint and set about painting the communal dining room, leaving behind enough to paint the kindergarten and the church fence. Our friends from “Viva Zapata” also expressed their willingness to continue supporting the village of San Antonio in the future.

As in the past, we continue to support a group of women from San Antonio, promoting the sale of t-shirts they embroider with original designs.

There is more news about our two special protégés, Maricela and Omar. Maricela remains on the waiting list for kidney donation, and until this happens, she must continue to attend dialysis in Toluca three times a week. She is studying for an undergraduate degree in psychology with distance learning, and thanks to the excellent care she receives at the Hospital of Nutrition in Mexico City she no longer suffers the frequent and life-threatening health crises that used to affect her.

Omar continues to go to rehabilitation several times a year with the doctor who attended him during his period with the Vicentine nuns, and who kindly offered to treat him free of charge in her private clinic. We cover the cost of the adjustments to his orthopedic supports, which the expert kindly agreed to charge at cost price, and we also pay for his taxis to Mexico City. Having completed primary school, the possibility of Omar continuing with his studies is unfortunately a cause for concern. Although the ramp built at the secondary school enables him to get around there with his wheelchair, reaching the school along dirt roads is very difficult, and his mother is unable to take the boy there, given how tall and heavy he now is. In light of Omar’s enthusiasm for reading and studying, it is very regrettable that his schooling is being truncated as a result of these external problems. It only remains to be hoped that the local council of San Felipe del Progreso fulfill its longstanding promise to pave the road, or to find our own funding to do so. 

b) Disabled persons in Tepexpan  

As in previous years, we continue to support our friends with disabilities at the Dr. Gustavo Baz Hospital for the Chronically Ill with special mattresses and pillows to prevent bedsores, together with the acquisition and repair of both manual and electric wheelchairs. In addition, this year we covered the cost of special medial studies for one of the patients which had to be carried out elsewhere.

Our intention to arrange an excursion for the patients unfortunately remains unrealized due to the lack of an appropriate vehicle and the refusal of the neighboring psychiatric hospital to lend theirs.

c) Individual cases

* Abel Orlando, who had been cared for by our friends in Chiautla, passed away in June. In the last months of his life we covered costs relating to doctor’s fees, studies, drugs, and nurses.

* The nursing student whom we have been supporting over the past couple of years with her transport costs and part of her school fees sends us regular reports of her progress with her studies, and expresses her enthusiasm for the profession she has chosen to pursue.

* Through friends, who kindly covered the cost, we arranged for a special treatment to be brought from the US for a child with cerebral palsy in Chiautla.

* Sister Irma, the Vicentine nun who until a few years ago was responsible for our friends with disabilities in Tepexpan, currently works in a small Tarahumara village and has asked for our support in light of the extremes of winter. Thanks to a successful fundraising effort among our friends we were able to send her four large packages with warm clothing, especially for children. The courier service offered us a considerable discount on the transport costs. In addition we sent a sum of money to enable the sisters to purchase further winter clothing.

* In October we covered the cost of dental treatment for a Lacandona woman.

* We funded the acquisition of an extra-lightweight wheelchair for a friend of Abel Orlando, who is unable to get around in a regular wheelchair.

* We supported a young paraplegic man recommended by our friends from Chiautla with the acquisition of an electric wheelchair that enables him to get around independently and attend his workplace.

* We also purchased special pillows to prevent bedsores for two people in Chiautla.