Update on PROJIMO
Exciting new developments have taken place in both the PROJIMO programs in the past few months, with even more promising prospects for the future.
PROJIMO in Spanish stands for Programa de Rehabilitación Organizado por Jovenes Incapacitados de México Occidental, or “Program of Rehabilitation Organized by Disabled Youth of Western Mexico.” PROJIMO at present consists of two largely independent programs, based in two villages located an hour or so north of the costal city of Mazatlan, on the mainland opposite the tip of Baja California.
PROJIMO Rehabilitation Program in Coyotitan, Sinaloa provides a wide range of services for disabled children and adults in surrounding villages. Activities range from family counseling to “early stimulation” and skills training. Low cost aids made at PROJIMO include orthopedic appliances, prosthetics, and wheelchairs. PROJIMO’s goal is to help disabled persons, families, and communities became as self-reliant as possible in an inclusive, caring way. Services by disabled persons provide an inspiring role model for disabled young people and their families.
PROJIMO Skills Training and Work Program focuses on the construction of individually designed wheelchairs for disabled children. Because coordinators and workers are mostly wheelchair users themselves, they make sure each chair meets the specific needs of each child. The team is self-sufficient in that it earns its living through the sale of the chairs. Yet no child is ever turned down. For families too poor to pay, Stichting Liliane Fonds, with the municipal government and other donors, covers the costs.
Sharing of ideas, methods, principles of empowerment. The PROJIMO programs are among the few Community Based Rehabilitation (CBR) initiatives that are organized and run by disabled villagers themselves. Thus PROJIMO provides an example and challenge to other CBR programs, to achieve strong leadership by disabled persons. The PROJIMO experience has shared and multiplied in several ways:
Increasing numbers of volunteers from different countries, especially rehabilitation professionals, are visiting PROJIMO—for days, weeks, or even months. The visiting experts help the workers at PROJIMO upgrade their skills. They also learn from the PROJIMO approach. This November saw visitors came from Holland, England, Greece, Canada, US, and Nicaragua. Many go on to work in CBR programs in Africa, Asia, or Latin America. Ideas gleaned from PROJIMO help them in the design and approach of programs elsewhere.
More and more foreign students come to study in the Intensive Conversational Spanish Training Program taught by quadriplegic youth at PROJIMO. By volunteering, the students gain a whole new perspective about the ability of disabled people to take charge of their own lives and programs.
Networking with other community programs has increased this year, thanks to an interchange organized around the visit of Hortensia Sierra from Stichting Liliane Fonds (SLF) in Holland, and a new network of CBR programs sponsored by the VAMOS Foundation in Mexico City.
A new video presentation is now being finalized by a Dutch team, to share the PROJIMO experience with a wider audience. (The excellent video on PROJIMO, “Our Own Road,” which won a Freddy Award in Documentaries, continues to be aired on public television in the USA and elsewhere.
Both PROJIMOs have received increased approval and support from the government, at municipal, state, and national levels. After PROJIMO Duranguito won a national prize for innovative community development, SAGARPA (a state-run rural improvement program) contributed generously toward building the new wheelchair shop and carpentry shop in Duranguito which is almost completed. Another state program is currently helping to upgrade the facilities in Coyotitan. Seed money for these projects was also provided by Stichting Liliane Fonds. The goal is to expand the facilities to accommodate growing numbers of trainees from other programs, in Mexico and beyond.
Both David Werner and the disabled PROJIMO leaders have also been invited more and more often to different countries to share their experiences. This year David has helped facilitate CBR training in Mexico, the US, Colombia, Bolivia, Honduras, Guatemala, and Turkey.
New prospects are developing for skilled prosthetists and orthopedic surgeons to visit PROJIMO, to help upgrade the teams skills and if possible to work with local surgeons in a shared learning process.
Help PROJIMO Teach Others to Help Others—Make a Year-End Donation!
The PROJIMO team is now entering the “multiplying stage” of sharing their methods and skills far and wide. One way they do this is to invite disabled persons from other programs to apprentice in their workshops. But to do this effectively, they need more equipment, workspace, guest facilities, and funds.
Your donation—in supplies, volunteer help, or $$$—will be greatly appreciated. To make a donation, see the enclosed order form, or contact us for specifics.