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Mobility, Accessibility & Inclusion

Bridge Peace and Prosperity by Providing Mobility and Better Quality of Life to Impoverished People with Disabilities in Mexico

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Explain your project idea (2,000 characters)

More than 100,000 people in Mexico are stuck in their house because their disability prevents them from moving independently. Shockingly 10,000+ wheelchairs are thrown away every year in the U.S. Our volunteers in the U.S. collect these used wheelchairs, crutches, walkers and canes. We ship them to Mexico. There, our trained staff, who have disabilities, refurbish the equipment, and individually donate them to others with disabilities who do not have the financial resources to purchase them. We take a holistic view of the needs and abilities of the people we help, so in addition to providing mobility aids, we host camps, clinics & other events to teach those who receive wheelchairs, how to move around, discover their new mobility, play sports, be active, independent, and have a better quality of life. We also do minor construction projects, building ramps, widening doorways, etc., so people have independent access to their house.

We employ people with disabilities, to repair and recycle used wheelchairs, so the equipment can be used by one person for a long time, and then passed on to others. We host picnics & other social events, to follow-up, maintain friendships, and let them know we care.
We address social stigmas - by breaking down barriers and stereotypes, the discrimination, and the mal-treatment of people with disabilities in Mexico. We give presentations, skits and dramas in schools, communities, and government offices to show them that people with disabilities have value, that we can go to school, get a job, get married, be part of the community, and be contributing members of society.

We also operate a school. It began in 2009 with three disabled students, and has grown to 41 pupils. (kindergarten through high school) - with and without disabilities. To see them interact, play and study together is amazing. There is no difference between disabled and non-disabled. The help each other, they have fun together, learn and grow together.

Who are the beneficiaries? (1,000 characters)

Our beneficiaries are impoverished people with disabilities, of all ages, who don't have the financial resources to get the mobility equipment they desperately need. According to the President of Mexico there is presently 100,000 with disabilities in Mexico who need wheelchairs, and 99% of them live in extreme poverty.

From the biggest cities to the smallest pueblos, Mexico is not accessible for people with disabilities. Often, there a no sidewalks, and if there are, they are cracked and broken, or there is a telephone pole in the middle, blocking access. Most schools and businesses aren’t accessible. There is no expectation in Mexico that people with disabilities can do anything. Many stay in the house all day, laying in their bed, doing nothing. If the family takes them out of the house they use plastic chairs, wheelbarrows, or grocery carts to move them around. People in very rural areas don’t know what a wheelchair is.

We provide them with good quality equipment.

How is your idea unique? (1,000 characters)

There are other organizations that donate mobility equipment throughout the world. But none of them have a sustainable presence in Mexico, nor do they assess people holistically, to understand their needs - to determine what type and size of wheelchair is best, considering their disability and abilities, environment, and daily activities.
We work with local governments in more than 120 municipalities, to find people with needs. We get their measurements, obtain information about their disability, & activities, to make sure they receive the equipment that is best for them.
Each wheelchair is individually modified & adjusted for their personal use. We follow-up by hosting camps and clinics that last from one day to five days to teach them to maneuver obstacles, play sports, do exercise, drive a car, get in & out of their wheelchair, transfer from their wheelchair to a bed, go to the bathroom independently. We help them learn to be independent, have accessible homes, & find jobs.

Idea Proposal Stage (choose one)

  • Full Scale Roll Out: I have already tested and scaled this idea significantly with the intended user base.

Tell us more about your organization/company (1 sentence and website URL)

We Provide Mobility and Better Quality of Life to the Disabled of Mexico
Web Site - www.WorldAccessProject.org
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/WorldAccessProject/

Expertise in sector

  • 7+ years

Organization Filing Status

  • Yes, we are a registered non-profit.

In 3-4 sentences, tell us the inspiration or story that encouraged you to start this project.

In 1997 I had the opportunity to give a 17 year-old girl, in Mexico. She never had a wheelchair, and never walked a day in her life. She lived in the middle of a corn field, and could only move when someone carried her. I gave her, her first wheelchair. Her smile and gratitude, because she was moving independently, for the first time in her life, was profound. It changed her life, and mine. That day, 29 other people went home with nothing. I had to do something!

Please explain how your selected topic areas are influenced, in the local context of your project (1,000 characters).

Peace is influenced by the ability to live a quality life. Prosperity is influenced by the opportunity to go to school, work, and be a contributing member of society, rather than a burden. The planet is influenced by everyone having the same rights and opportunities to live their life to the fullest extent possible, not limited by a mobility issue that can be addressed.
We have travelled and donated wheelchairs in six states - from the biggest cities to small pueblos. The common finding is that thousands of people have impairments that effect their mobility. This tragedy is compounded by their lack of financial ability, or awareness, to procure the mobility aid they need, and the training to use them effectively. We help them in both areas - to give them a new opportunity at life.

Who will work alongside your organization in the project idea? (1,000 characters)

We have a diverse Board of Directors, from the U.S., Canada, and Mexico, who guide us. Many individual supporters in the U.S., and volunteers in various cities, collect used wheelchairs on our behalf. In Mexico we have 7 staff in our Donation Center and 7 teachers in our school (all Mexicans). 5 of our staff have disabilities, and three use wheelchairs. We work with organizations & social clubs (Rotary & Lions clubs) in the U.S. and Mexico to collect used wheelchairs in the U.S., and help donate them in Mexico. Teams come from the U.S. to help donate wheelchairs, make homes accessible and host events in the communities. In Mexico we obtain guidance as to how to best serve people with disabilities from beneficiaries with disabilities who give us feedback and suggestions. We get input from community leaders who's job is to help people with disabilities, we talk to local government staff, business owners, hospital staff, and family members of disabled as to learn new ways to help.

Please share some of the top strengths identified in the community which your project will serve (500 characters)

Throughout Mexico we have found many people with disabilities whose lives have changed dramatically once they received the wheelchair they need. With their new mobility the become active and involved in their family and communities. They are able to get an education, which helps them personally, and go shopping, which benefits the economy.
The local governments we work with are proud to say they are helping people with disabilities, and are very supportive of what we do.

Geographic Focus

Mexico

How many months are required for the project idea? (500 characters)

Presently our Donation Center & school are in facilities loaned by local governments, which change every 3 years. Our goal is to build our own facility that would incorporate a Donation Center, School, Life-Time Rehab Center, Sports Center, an Accessible Playground, Conference Center, Dormitorios & apartments to learn independent living. Our vision is to put a Donation Center in every state of Mexico, employing people with disabilities. With sufficient funds, we accomplish this in 36 months.

Did you submit this idea to our 2017 BridgeBuilder Challenge? (Y/N)

  • No
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Attachments (2)

Circle.JPG

One Wheelchair Makes a Huge Difference!

Progress.JPG

Making a Difference - One Person at a Time

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Photo of Elizabeth
Team

This organization is truly one of a kind. The work that Richard and his team does is Mexico is truly one of a kind. I had the opportunity to travel with 6 other team members to distribute mobility equipment with the World Access Project. I will forever be changed by my experience. This group is truly dedicated to ensuring individuals with disabilities are provided the opportunity to live life to the fullest.

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