Every year we ask our wonderful students from St Kate’s to write a blog for us. What follows is from this year’s group.
Today is our seventh day in Peru working with clients on 24-hour postural care and wheelchair seating and positioning. We have learned a great deal since our first day in Lima and know that more learning will continue through the remainder of our trip.
Throughout our time with Eleanore’s Project we have observed passion and love for improving the lives of children with disabilities and their families. In Lima we had the opportunity to work closely with both occupational and physical therapists from Yancana Huasy in an effort to make 24-hour postural care sustainable for the children served at their clinic. In Nasca we partnered with Equip Kids and the Lions Club to exchange knowledge and skills that will continue to benefit the children after we leave. It has been inspiring to see the growing partnerships and focus on sustainability during this experience.
We have worked with mothers, fathers, aunts, uncles, grandmothers, and grandfathers who have traveled long distances, often carrying their children. Upon leaving Eleanore’s Project these children and families finally have a way to get around and engage in new experiences. In addition, information about proper nighttime positioning for each child will improve their sleep, health, and body shape.
Involving the child and their family throughout the process is a top priority of Eleanore’s Project. For example, today we saw a young women, named Margarita. She had a warm smile and genuine enthusiasm for learning. She was very excited about getting a wheelchair and walker to improve her mobility and function both at home and school. As we began the wheelchair fitting process Margarita was very interested in what we were doing and was eager to help us. She quickly caught on to how to use a screwdriver and began removing screws from her chair with assistance. With help she also demonstrated how to adjust each part of her chair. Her energy was infectious and she engaged with several of the other children by singing songs, counting, and showing how to move her chair. She was also very pleased to have her nails painted by Laura. At the end of the day she she said she had made many new friends “nuevos amigos”. Her story shows the importance of recognizing children and families as valuable members of the team. It is true that they know the most about their life experiences and how our suggestions will help them live more fulfilling lives.
Everyday we have seen how the work of Eleanore’s Project can greatly improve the lives of children and their families. We have learned valuable skills related to nighttime positioning, wheelchair seating, working with families who differ in culture and language from what we are used to, and how to adapt to new work environments. We have also seen the immense love families have demonstrated for their children. We are confident that the skills we have learned will help us work with a variety of clients with different needs. Eleanore’s Project is truly work from the heart. Every person gives their all to make sure each child’s needs are met. It has been a pleasure working with this incredible organization!