The number of disabled children at PROJIMO has dropped in part because the number of difficult young adults has grown. But there are two other reasons for the lower number of children at PROJIMO, both of which are largely a result of PROJIMO’s long-term success.

First, when PROJIMO began, there were no other rehabilitation facilities in the region offering the same full range of services at low or no cost. As a result, there were hundreds of seriously disabled children who had never received adequate attention. For example, scores of children of all ages, paralyzed since infancy by polio, were unable to walk because they had never been fitted with braces and crutches and their legs had become contracted. Now most of these children have had such needs met. To date, PROJIMO has served over 2,000 disabled children, in effect extending its coverage to a wide surrounding area. Thus the declining number of children seeking attention at PROJIMO is partly a reflection of how many children have now been effectively reached.

Second, many of the children who used to come from a great distance—especially from the coastal cities—today go to similar rehabilitation programs nearer their homes. Some of these community programs have been started by or had important input from persons who had previously participated in or trained at PROJIMO, or who have otherwise been influenced by the PROJIMO’s approach to community-based rehabilitation. Here are some examples:

  • In Culiacán two disabled young men, Jesús and Juan, started the Más Válidos program after coming to PROJIMO for their own rehabilitation. They spent more than a year at PROJIMO mastering the necessary skills. In PROJIMO’s early years, it treated hundreds of children from Culiacán (a distance of about 150 miles). Now Más Válidos meets most of these children’s needs.

  • In Puerto Vallarta, two former members of PROJIMO who have a little girl with cerebral palsy have started a program called Proyecto Pitillal, which is run for and by disabled people and their families. Several young disabled persons from this program have received training in brace making, wheelchair making, and other skills at PROJIMO.

  • In Mazatlán, Dolores, a wheelchair-riding participant in PROJIMO, has long been active in Los Pargos, an organization of families of disabled children. Periodically this program brings a busload of children to PROJIMO. Recently Dolores also helped to found an ‘independent living’ organization in Mazatlán of which she is vice president.

  • In at least twelve municipalities of the state of Sinaloa, the director of CREE (Center for Rehabilitation and Special Education, a government program) has set up rehabilitation outposts attempting to follow the PROJIMO model.

  • In Mexico City, Dolores, a rehabilitation specialist who took part in a PROJIMO training course and has remained in close touch ever since, helped start a community-run rehabilitation program called SERESAT. The organization now has branches in three of the city’s poorest communities. Dolores V. is also helping to start another branch of SERESAT in Michoacán.

  • Also in Mexico City, Eduardo, a doctor affected polio, has been working on starting a PROJIMO-like O-like program as part of Campamentos Unidos, a community architecture program that helps earthquake victims build their own houses.

  • In Hermosillo, Sonora, Polo, a young man disabled by polio who in his teens spent tree years at PROJIMO and became a master wheelchair builder, has helped set up a wheelchair repair shop as part of a program for disabled persons.

  • In Tijuana, Baja California, Gabriel, a paraplegic young man who went to PROJIMO for rehabilitation, is a leader in a new program of disabled persons and is setting up a wheelchair shop.

  • In Campeche, Alberto (a pseudonym), a refugee from Guatemala who spent two years in PROJIMO, has begun a wheelchair-building program in the refugee camp where he live previously.

Most of these programs—and several others that are getting started in different parts of México maintain close ties with PROJIMO, send disabled participants to PROJIMO for skills training, and take part in training programs and workshops. A loose network has formed linking these and other community based rehabilitation programs in Mexico.