In 2004 exciting things are happening in both PROJIMO programs in rural Mexico.

In the PROJIMO Rehabilitation Program, in Coyotitan, one big advance has been an arrangement with the Barr Foundation, based in Florida, to provide high quality prostheses free to poor people who need them. Components are donated by the Barr Foundation, which also, with help from the Culiacan Rotary Club, contributes to the production cost. Marcelo Acevedo and Conchita Lara, disabled members of the PROJIMO team, have already fitted 9 of the first 20 amputees.

The Culiacan Rotary Club became more closely involved with PROJIMO and sponsored an upgrade of the entire physical plant, together with construction f a new therapy room.

The Intensive Conversational Spanish Training Program, taught by Julio Peña, Rigoberto Delgado and, most recently, Gabriel Cortez—all 3 functionally quadriplegic—is attracting more and more students. Ranging from the US, Canada, and England to Holland, Japan, and India, most come to volunteer as well as to study, sometimes with the whole family. Children have a great time playing with and learning from the village children. Please consider coming to study Spanish at PROJIMO. And help us spread the word. It helps disabled folks earn a living—and helps the program.

At the HealthWrights board meeting in April 2004, we discussed the enormity of PROJIMO’s contribution to disabled children and adults in Mexico. Mari and Conchita, the program coordinators, figure that PROJIMO has served over 30,000 disabled persons. Annual donations for PROJIMO total about $50,000 a year. But the value of the services provided is much higher. The 40 or so limbs Marcelo and Conchita will make this year would cost in the USA around $200,000. Value of all services and equipment provided each year would run over half a million dollars. In urban rehab centers in Mexico costs would run half that, but vastly more than in PROJIMO. Poor families would go without.

Donations of crucial medical supplies have been substantial in value as well. For example, over the past eight years donations of Colting Factor 9 for Carlos Garcia, a boy with hemophilia B, have a value over $160,000. Without this life saving medication, Carlos could not walk and was in constant pain. With it, he has been able to lead a normal life.

Add to this value the influence PROJIMO is having worldwide through networking, educational exchanges, and wide use of the books Disabled Village Children and Nothing About Us Without Us, the impact of the program is enormous.

The PROJIMO Children’s Wheel-chair Program in Duranguito is also making big advances. The new welding and car pentry workshop has been completed with help from Stichting Liliane Fonds in Holland and several government programs in Mexico. The village team, which custom designs and builds wheelchairs to meet the needs of each child, has received two awards at the state and national levels. The state Family Development Program (DIF) is now contracting with PROJIMO Duranguito to build large numbers of individualized wheelchairs for children in various parts of the state. The governor’s wife, after attending the presentation of 23 wheelchairs to children in Cruz de Elota, has donated a new arc welder worth $1,500

The state of Nayarit, to the south, is also involved. Groups in several states (and other countries) are arranging for disabled persons to apprentice in Duranguito, and then set up their own workshops. At last the idea that children deserve a wheelchair that actually meets their needs is beginning to catch on!

The two coordinators of the PROJIMO Wheelchair Program, Gabriel Zepeda and Raymundo Hernandez—both wheelchair users—are to be applauded for their accomplishments, as is their entire team. *

* See a slide show of custom-designed wheelchairs made at PROJIMO Duranguito on