The PROJIMO Skills Training and Work Program based in the village of Ajoya continues to evolve in exciting ways. One of the most innovative areas of activity is the Children’s Wheelchair Workshop, headed by Gabriel Zepeda, who is himself a wheelchair user (paraplegic). The team builds a wide variety of wheelchairs, tricycles, and gurneys, designed and built to the individual needs and wishes of the child and family.

Because in Mexico only PROJIMO provides such creative and caring wheelchair designs, requests are now coming from other states and countries. This July and August, two students of industrial design from Delft, Holland have been helping the PROJIMO wheelchair team improve designs and quality control. Here are examples of some of the more innovative designs, adapted for children with especially challenging needs.

Born with hydrocephaly, this boy has a stiff neck, arms, and hips, and stiff, bent-back knees. He spent all his life lying on his back in bed until Gabriel (with hat) designed this adjustable jurney for him.

The gurney can be instantly adjusted anywhere from horizontal to almost vertical. When more upright, the boy can see better, and he relates better to the people and activities in front of him. When he tires, his mother can easily lower him again to a horizontal position.

He and his mother are delighted with his new journey.

This mother has 4 children with muscular dystrophy. She works at a roadside food stand a mile from her house. She wanted a wheelchair in which she could transport all the children at once.

The PROJIMO team designed this chair for four passengers. The family is delighted.

Alejandro, a child with spina bifida, asked for a tricycle to go to and from school. Because he wanted to power it with both hands, the team built the trike using bicycle pedals and a chain.

Alejandro now speeds around on his new tricycle. His friends beg him to let him use it. It gives him greater confidence and independence.

Visit to Piña Palmera

During the travels with Ashoka, David Werner visited Piña Palmera, an outstanding community-base rehabilitation program on the coast of Oaxaca. For years Piña Palmera and PROJIMO have exchanged experiences and ideas. For example, Piña first learned about making wooden toys at PROJIMO. Now it has an economically successful toyshop surpassing PROJIMO’s. The shop trains and employs disabled persons from surrounding communities.