Disability Aid in Rural Peru

by Awamaki
Disability Aid in Rural Peru

Hello supporters!

Sacred Valley Health, Awamaki's health spin-off, has been working hard on our disabilities campaign these past few months. As you know, SVH is a new organization with a focus on implementing promotoras (community health workers) in rural and underserved communities. Because of this we are sadly in the process of phasing out our disabilities campaign. Thus, we have made sustainable goals for each of our patients to ensure they will still receive the care and support they need even in our absence.

One of our patients, Paulino, a 52-year old man who suffered from a stroke 2 years ago, is currently in San Juan de Dios, a hospital in Cusco, receiving therapy three-times a week. Another one of our patients, Jose, a cheerful 20-year old with cerebral palsy, will be joining Arco Iris’ outreach program in the coming weeks. Arco Iris is a local school specifically geared towards children with disabilities. Their outreach program will enable Jose to be visited by a physiotherapist once a week as well as provide his family social and legal support.

You’ll also remember Nati, a spunky 76-year old woman who constantly reminds me that I cannot cook and will never be able to hook a man; she will continue to receive social support and interactions with volunteers from another organization, MySmallHelp (MSH). We have also been collaborating with MSH with our following two patients, Roxanna, an 11-year old with epilepsy, and Alex, a 14-year old with cerebral palsy. We hope that Roxanna will be able to attend Arco Iris in the next month. Their programs will enable her to receive more one-on-one attention with teachers specializing in children’s disabilities.

As for Alex,  our final funds from this project will go towards building him a new bedrail to prevent him from falling out of bed. We are also in the process of working with several organizations to determine a long-term sustainable solution for Alex. If you would like to continue to support us, please donate through http://www.globalgiving.org/donate/3422/awamaki/

Thank you for your support of this project! 

Share on Twitter Share on Facebook
Alex and volunteer Natasha in the sun
Alex and volunteer Natasha in the sun

Dear supporters,

Thank you for your help and support with our disabilities program in the Sacred Valley region of Peru.  We have really appreciated your efforts in backing our endeavors to improve the lives of disabled people in the Sacred Valley.

As you know from prior reports, we are seeking for sustainable long-term solutions for each of our patients to ensure they will still receive the care and support they need as we work towards broader goals of improved rural health in general. As follows is an update about the situation and progress with each of our program participants.

We have three patients with whom we are currently working. Roxanna is 11 years old and has been diagnosed with epilepsy. Her family cannot afford the seizure medication needed to manage her seizures. Therefore she is unable to attend the local school because the teacher does not know how to handle the situation. We are working towards enrolling Roxanna in a school specialized for children with disabilities. Attending this school will enable Roxanna to receive the specialized care and attention she needs to succeed in school.

Alex is 13 years old and has cerebral palsy. He currently stays at home in his bed all day because his family has to work and he has no other means of transportation. We are in the process of securing a firmer mattress to increase his back support and enforce better bed railings to ensure his safety. We are also partnering with another organization, MySmallHelp, to obtain a wheelchair that can be fitted to Alex specifically in the hopes of transporting him to the school specializing in children with disabilities.

Jose is 20 years old and has cerebral palsy as well. He has great family support but his mother is a single working mom and both his siblings attend school during the day, so he stays home alone usually. Unfortunately due to his age, the school for children with disabilities is hesitant to enroll him in their program. However, they have an outreach program for children unable to attend the school. We are in the process of working with the school to have Jose be a part of the outreach program and receive more care and therapy.

We are close to reaching sustainable long-term solutions for each of our patients; we estimate that transportation for meetings with the schools and visits to make these plans, and the construction of Alex's bed rails will cost only an additional $200 over the next three months. (We are revising our project goal accordingly!)

We appreciate your continued interest, help and support with the disability aid project. With your help and support we have been able to impact our patients' lives in very positive ways. We really appreciate it and please don't hesitate to email us at (health@awamaki.org) if you have any further questions about the future of our program!

Volunteer Ruth reading to Jose
Volunteer Ruth reading to Jose
Share on Twitter Share on Facebook

Hello friends! Thank you for your support of our disabilities program in rural Peru. I am writing to update you about Awamaki's health and disabilities support program. We are currently in the midst of an exciting transition. Awamaki's health program has grown significantly, and we are focusing increasingly on the provision of health services to all the rural poor, not just the disabled. Local sustainability is a major priority as we move forwards, and we are thus shifting our disability program focus from patient care to patient empowerment.

This takes a unique form for each of our patients. After working with over ten patients in the region over time, we currently work with three patients. Jose, our oldest patient, is now twenty years old. Jose has cerebral palsy and is therefore confined to his wheelchair in his family’s one-room home. We are trying to connect him with a local support group. Alex, who was also diagnosed with cerebral palsy, has not been as lucky as Jose. Without a wheelchair, Alex is only able to leave his home and watch his beloved trains roll by to Machu Picchu on days when Awamaki volunteers visit. With sufficient funding, we can find a wheelchair and training for Alex and his family. Our third patient is an eleven-year-old girl named Roxanna. Roxanna was diagnosed with epilepsy and mental retardation as a child. Her fear of cars combined with her family’s remote residence has made getting Roxanna to school more difficult than we anticipated.

School remains a priority for Jose, Alex and Roxanna. Enrollment in a special-needs school in the next town is only the first step; funding (including your support and a three-way partnership with the municipality and another local non-profit) will provide transportation and tuition, and also enable us to see that they and their families can access the specific long-term care they require through the school. Our focus is on helping families create a long-term plan for their children in which they attend school and access care through not only their school but the health services that our growing program now provides to the general public. We will always be there for our special-needs program participants and their families, but we and their families believe this is a more sustainable, healthier and better long-term option for the children. Executing this plan is a tall order, but our dedicated volunteers and staff are ready to work tirelessly until that dream is realized!

Thank you for your continued support, and please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions about this exciting transition!


Kennedy Leavens

Executive Director, Awamaki


Share on Twitter Share on Facebook

Dear friends,

Thank you for your support of Awamaki's Disabilities Campaign in the past months. The disabilities program is going well. Our volunteers now make regularl visits to six disabled individuals, and donations like yours fund ongoing needs like diapers, and one-time needs like visits to specialists and small home renovations.

This is an account by a volunteer, Nicole, who worked with Awamaki for 2 months. Nicole is 24 and is currently considering pursuing a Masters in International Public Health.

She writes:

"Visiting Alex, age 14, each week as a part of our disabilities campaign has been an experience incomparable to being with any child I have worked with. Alex was born with cerebral palsy and suffers from a hip injury which he incurred from falling out of bed a few years prior. After the first time meeting Alex and seeing his living conditions, I was both in shock and eager to return to see what progress could be made with him. He recently turned 15 years old, and spends close to 24 hours a day in his bed, besides the time we come to visit to take him outside and when his mother changes/bathes him. Mainly his mother works at the train station to be able to provide for the family. A few years ago, Alex unfortunately fell out of bed, broke his hip and for lack of medical attention it healed improperly. For this reason, a special wheelchair is needed to transport him to any type of school. Getting him to school has been our main goal since we began visiting him. As of recently, we have happily been informed by another non-profit in the area that a specialized wheelchair is now available for him. We are currently working on other obstacles that stand between him and school.

Due to the location of Alex´s house, we also need someone that would be able to transport him down a long hill to a combi which could transport him to school. We are almost positive one of our long-term volunteers will be able to accompany him, to ensure he can attend school once a week. All of these factors are currently being tackled, to eventually reach our goal of connecting him with an education. It has truly been an eye-opening experience seeing a young boy who at times shows signs of progress in terms of motor skills, awareness and emotions, and we continue to push for his attendance in a local school for disabled children. He is a wonderful boy to be around, and has a smile and laugh contagious to all those around him."
Our volunteers bring the extra energy that overworked families sometimes don't have. They go to doctor visits, bring diapers and connect families with resources. They and you make a difference in the lives of disabled individuals, enabling them to access social and health care resources that allow them to live a dignified, healthy life.
Thanks for reading! We look forward to keeping you updated about our progress getting Alex to school, and with the other disabled children with whom we work!
Kennedy Leavens
Share on Twitter Share on Facebook
Brad, Awamaki Volunteer with Alex
Brad, Awamaki Volunteer with Alex

The Awamaki disabilities program has five individuals both in Ollantaytambo and the outlying communities that we visit on a twice weekly basis. Alex is a twelve year old boy who was born with cerebral palsy who lives in the township of Phiri. Alex is generally bedridden and suffers a permanently dislocated left hip as a result of falling out of bed while being left unattended; the injury was undetected by his mother for some time and as a result the injury has now been determined to be inoperable. Secondary complications are contractions in his left arm and general wastage of his musculature due to inactivity. Alex is unable to converse but is able to convey his feelings with laughs and squeals; he particularly loves it when the Machu Picchu train goes by or more adventurous volunteers ride his family pigs! A usual visit with Alex involves checking whether or not his diaper is clean and dry and then carrying him outside into the sun and sitting with him outside doing passive exercises designed to encourage Alex to mobilize his left arm.We usually spend 30 to 45 minutes with Alex until he begins to tire or the weather is uncooperative. Our long term goal is to get Alex into a local school for children with disabilities as a means to socialize him and integrate him into the local community and as a means to provide some respite for his mother who has two other children and holds down a job selling corn in the Machu Picchu area.

Jose is a nineteen year old boy also born with cerebral palsy. He lives in Ollantaytambo and is cared for by his mother who sells Chicha at the local market. His days consist of being confined to his wheelchair in the family home listening to the radio. Jose is a lively character who absolutely loves his visits with our volunteers Jose is also non- verbal but laughs a lot when engaged. His primary complication currently is the contractions in both his feet and hamstrings. Physiotherapy,done by current volunteers over the last three months has resulted in a dramatic improvement in the mobility and flexion of Jose´s ankles feet and hamstrings, to the point where Jose has made numerous attempts to rise from a kneeling position to a standing position with only moderate support given by volunteers. He quite obviously has the strength to stand and our goal right now is to secure suitable braces for his legs to further improve the bio mechanics of his feet and ankles. A typical visit with Jose includes wheeling him outside via a ramp that we built for him into his courtyard and helping him onto a mattress.Here we take Jose through a series of stretches designed to improve the alignment from his knees to his toes. Also we work on the flexibility in his hamstrings and ankles in an effort to counter the effect of his contractions.

The Awamaki disabilities program has certainly proved to be one of the most popular aspects of our volunteers stays here in Ollantaytambo and the growing interest has made it possible to reach more and more individuals in need of help both locally and in the more remote communities.


Share on Twitter Share on Facebook

About Project Reports

Project Reports on GlobalGiving are posted directly to globalgiving.org by Project Leaders as they are completed, generally every 3-4 months. To protect the integrity of these documents, GlobalGiving does not alter them; therefore you may find some language or formatting issues.

If you donate to this project or have donated to this project, you will get an e-mail when this project posts a report. You can also subscribe for reports via e-mail without donating.

Get Reports via Email

We'll only email you new reports and updates about this project.

Organization Information


Location: Ollantaytambo, Cusco - Peru
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @awamaki
Project Leader:
Grace Schmitz
Marketing Coordinator
Ollantaytambo, Cusco Peru

Funded Project!

Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.

Still want to help?

Support another project run by Awamaki that needs your help, such as:

Find a Project

Learn more about GlobalGiving

Teenage Science Students
Vetting +
Due Diligence


Woman Holding a Gift Card
Gift Cards

Young Girl with a Bicycle

Sign up for the GlobalGiving Newsletter

WARNING: Javascript is currently disabled or is not available in your browser. GlobalGiving makes extensive use of Javascript and will not function properly with Javascript disabled. Please enable Javascript and refresh this page.