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!
Executive Director, Awamaki