In keeping with our general philosophy, Asocacion Tierra does not run its own project for disabled children and young people. Instead we support an already existing project in San Juan de La Concepcion (our local community) of Los Pipitos, a national organisation working for disabled children and their families. There is no residential component…most families prefer to look after their disabled in their own homes, a view with which we wholeheartedly agree! However, it is also the case that families with a disabled family member are more likely to be affected by poverty (diminshed earning potential, and higher outgoings). Los Pipitos also has very few resources here in San Juan – when we began our involvement in 2012 there was just a shell of a building – no electricity, no desks or chairs, no teaching or therapy resources, no security, hardly any children attending……in short, a disaster. You can read below how much that has changed……
EMPLOYMENT OF TEACHERS AND THERAPISTS & BUILDING IMPROVEMENTS
Asocacion Tierra employs a full time physical therapist, a teacher and a part time assitant. We also ensure night time security, have improved the building putting in more windows and painting the walls with some fun murals, helping to establish a small garden. Connecting the electricity was a major advance! The center now has 3 functioning rooms, a cheerful outside patio and 40 children are currently registered. Open all day, some attend in the morning, others after lunch.
SPECIAL RESOURCES FOR THERAPY
The photos below show the construction of a small ball pool, installed at the same time as a climbing frame and parallel bars to assist with walking practice. These not only help with increased use of limbs and muscles – they are also fun for the kids! The therapy room cost over $1000 to equip and we are grateful for a donation which enabled us to do this!
EQUINO & WATER THERAPY
Our equino therapy project is incredibly popular. Once a week kids get the chance to ride on one of our rescued horses (below is Chepe, an older horse, calm and gentle – perfect for disabled children). Those children unable to mount a horse can ride around getting fresh air and movement in the back of a specially designed cart. We do not forget the parents either – they can chill out in a hammock watching theior kids being taken care of by our experienced and enthusiastic workers (Ariel below) and volunteers. It is a super therapeutic experience for all concerned, enhanced by the natural surroundings of the garden and eco buildings of Piscacho, the group study center of La Mariposa.
Asocacion Tierra also offers water therapy and fun to the children of Los Pipitos. Once a week, depending on the weather as it is an outdoor pool.
THE ANNUAL XMAS PARTY
No words necessary here…just look at the photos!! Except to mention that each child receives two gifts (donated each year by La mariposa workers) – one is something useful such as shoes, clothes, even a wheelchair. The other is simply for fun!
SUPPORTING LOS PIPITOS SPORTING AND CULTURAL EVENTS
We often provide transport and funding to help children and young people take part in events and competitions organised on a regional or national basis by Los Piptos.
HELPING INDIVIDUAL FAMILES
Meet Yader…this baby has had a trachectomy since birth. His Dad sells ice cream – he makes around $5 to $10 a day – barely enough to buy food, let alone the medical care needed by Yader. For the past two years La Mariposa and now Asocacion Tierra provide consistent financial help for medicines and special food. Though he has a broken arm in the photo from a fall, he is in general doing very well. One hand is all he needs to accept his Xmas present!