PROJIMO is a disability treatment center at the vanguard of community-based health and rehabilitation initiatives. Its purpose is to serve a population too indigent to receive physical care at a hospital and too marginalized to receive emotional care from their communities. Its vision is to provide opportunity and understanding to the disabled community, so they can show the world that strength, beauty, and self-actualization come both because of and in spite of their disabilities. PROJIMO is a revolutionary model in grassroots health care because of its ability to engage and empower a marginalized population in its own physical, social, and emotional advancement.
PROJIMO´s two sites provides the full range of services for disabled persons including:
1. Customized wheelchairs, prosthetics, orthotics, and other assistive devices
2. Physical rehabilitation
3. Emotional counsel
4. Education for the family and the community
5. Social integration
PROJIMO Rehabilitation Program, located in Coyotitan, focuses on the social and emotional aspect of disability treatment, although it also has a strong prosthetics and wheelchair workshop on site. The workers at the Rehabilitation Program site provides physical and occupational therapy, family counsel, self-help skills, community outreach, and awareness education.
PROJIMO Skills Training and Work Program, located in Duranguito, focuses on economic self-sufficiency for disabled and non-disabled village youth. The main activity of the PROJIMO Skills Training and Work Program is the Children's Wheelchair Project. The wheelchairs are low-cost, built to endure the tough terrain of the Mexican landscape, affordable, and customized to fit its owner.
HOW TO GET INVOLVED
PROJIMO also offers a variety of products and services for travelers, volunteers, and interns interested in non-profit work, international development, or disability awareness.
1. The Intensive Conversational Spanish program is taught by the quadriplegic employees at PROJIMO. Their techniques involve an integrated approach to learning Spanish. From traditional textbooks, to daily conversation practice, to lessons at the beach, the program provides both fun and practicality for all levels and all ages. This unique program exposes students not only to the language, but also to the inspirational stories of the workers at PROJIMO, the breathtaking scenery of the tranquil town, and the cultural immersion of community-based learning. Students are treated to the hospitality of a PROJIMO family during their stay. Enjoy authentic Mexican cuisine, explore the surrounding sites, and make lifelong friends. Contact email@example.com to set up an unforgettable vacation.
2. The PROJIMO Woodshop sells handcrafted toys and furniture. These toys are made by Marielos, a paraplegic who has a gift for both whimsy and function. Many of these toys are used in the rehabilitation center, to help train motor skills. Made of all natural wood and individually designed, constructed, and painted by Marielos, these toys are a beautiful gift with a beautiful story.
3. Volunteers and interns cycle through PROJIMO to offer their expertise and learn from the men and women at PROJIMO. Skills in mechanical engineering, prosthetics, general healthcare, information technology, physical rehabilitation, marketing, and management consulting are just examples of ways to contribute. Perfect for anyone who needs field experience for their skills.
Donations of money and materials are always welcome. PROJIMO`s mission is to ensure that every person has the assistive technology and rehabilitation they need to lead productive and meaningful lives, even those who cannot afford the treatment. Donations help ensure that those who cannot pay even the reduced cost of services can receive treatment. PROJIMO is a perfect organization for community fundraisers and charitable causes. For each $250 you donate, a child will get a wheelchair, especially customized for them. All contributions are tax deductible. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org with donations.
Project Piaxtla, PROJIMO´s forerunner, began in a remote village called Ajoya, in the Sierra Madre mountains. In the 1990s, however, Ajoya began to pass through increasingly difficult times. The economic crisis in Mexico, resulting from the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), led to a widening gap between rich and poor. Joblessness, falling wages, crime and violence plagued the country. The village of Ajoya, a strategically-located exchange point for illegal drugs grown in the mountains, was rife with robberies, assaults, and kidnappings. In response, many families fled the village, and PROJIMO moved with it.
The PROJIMO Rehabilitation Program moved to the safer, more accessible town of Coyotitan on the main west-coast highway just north of Mazatlan. For two more years the PROJIMO Skills Training and Work Program kept its base in the troubled village of Ajoya. Its goal was to provide socially constructive alternatives to both disabled persons and to village youth who, for lack of job opportunities or hopes of a viable future, were too often lured into drugs, crime and violence. The continuing economic degeneration finally forced the program to relocate. Now the new PROJIMO Work Program is located in the tranquil village of Duranguito, near the coastal town of Dimas.
Marcelo Acevedo Roque, one of the founders of PROJIMO, is 41 years old and has polio. Through PROJIMO, he learned to build braces and prosthetic limbs. Today, he is a world class prosthetist with a flair for high quality work despite outdated machinery and scarcity of materials. He is married and has 4 children.
Conchita Lara Rodríguez initially struggled with depression and suicide when she became paraplegic. PROJIMO has helped her turn her life around, not only by giving her purpose and independence, but by giving her the chance to give others that same gift. She is an accountant, a therapist, and a prosthetic assistant for PROJIMO. In addition, she also manages many of PROJIMO´s administrative affairs and offers her home up for home stays. She is married and has two daughters.
Jaime Alcaraz Torres came to PROJIMO with little hope and many bedsores. PROJIMO taught him ways to take care of himself, and constructed a bed-wheelchair, because sitting was painful with his calcified hip bones. He is currently the expert wheelchair builder in the Coyotitan workshop. His joy is making a wheelchair and seeing its get around and feel good about themselves.
Mary Picos Solían became paraplegic after a car accident. She spent two years lying in bed, rejecting her disability, before she found PROJIMO. At PROJIMO, she has found attention, understanding, affection, tenderness, and lifelong friendships. In return, she has stretched out her arms to those who come in with little desire to live. She is the administrative head to PROJIMO. In addition, she provides rehabilitation, gives orthopedic evaluations, provides family counsel, and reaches out to educate the community. She is married and has a daughter.
Inés Ochoa was diagnosed with polio and abandoned by his mother. Joining PROJIMO helped him emotionally accept his ability, find community understanding, and learn to manufacture wheelchairs. He also provides physically therapy and is known for the special attention he gives to those in continuing rehabilitation. He is married and has two children.
Marielos Rosales is paraplegic and did not care for much until she found her joy in PROJIMO`s toyshop. She is a natural with children and found that making the toys helped her to connect with others as well as find purpose for herself. She is also in charge of the wood orthotic devices and furniture.
Rigoberto Delgado is quadriplegic, but through rehabilitation and determination, he is beginning to regain the ability to use my arms. PROJIMO helped him gain independence in his life and showed him that he has many skills to teach to others. He is now the much beloved Spanish teacher, giving lessons to people from other countries. He is married and has a daughter.
Armando Necares Velásquez was born with polio and was instructed to use a wheelchair for the rest of his life. With a lot of work and the help of his family, however, he has started to walk. His mission at PROJIMO is to help others rehabilitate. He also makes wheelchairs and braces. He is married and has a daughter.
Julio Peña Leiva is quadriplegic, a condition caused by a gunshot wound to the neck. At PROJIMO, he learned to take care of himself and in turn, he has come up with many ingenious ways for other quadriplegics to take care of themselves. He is another beloved Spanish teacher, as well as a mentor to many children with disabilities and a counselor for those with back issues.
Cecilia Rodríguez has polio and came to Prójimo with the expectation for a new brace. She stayed around, however, after being touched by PROJIMO´s message of empowerment and equality of treatment for disabled people. Working at PROJIMO has given her the emotional strength to reconcile with her estranged family. Now, she is married and has two daughters.
David Werner - The PROJIMO Community Based Rehabilitation Program was created with the advocacy of David Werner in 1981, and David continues as an intermittent advisor.
Healthwrights is a non-profit organization committed to advancing the health, basic rights, social equality, and self-determination of disadvantaged persons and groups. They believe that health for all people is only possible in a global society where the guiding principles are sharing, mutual assistance, and respect for cultural and individual differences.
The Barr Foundation, based in Florida, provides free prosthetics to indigent persons in the US and other countries. The Barr Foundation's "Where Hope Meets Help" donors provides free prosthetic components for these persons through PROJIMO.
The Stichting Liliane Fonds in the Netherlands, helps cover the cost of wheelchairs for children from poor families. Their donations have helped the Children's Wheelchair Shop achieve self-sufficiency, although funds are still needed for renovating and expanding its new facilities.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Several books that have grown out of the experiences of the workers at PROJIMO. These books have become among the most widely used in their fields. Project Piaxtla, PROJIMO´s precursor, gave birth to Where There Is No Doctor, a village health care handbook, and also to Helping Health Workers Learn, a handbook on participatory, discovery-based methods of health education. Since its inception, PROJIMO has inspired the books Disabled Village Children , and Nothing About Us Without Us.