This week we received a certificate from the mayor of La Concepción to give recognition to CIELO de Amor as a legal organization for the municipality. It’s a great milestone for CIELO de Amor. CIELO de Amor became a legal organization in La Concepción last February. With facilitation by a lawyer we created our mission, vision, and family members elected six local people for the board of directors, including staff and a parent. Now we are official!
As a result of the recognition by the mayor, we received a visit from five board members of the local commission for health. They were very impressed with the services we are providing and offered to help us in any way they could. Liseth informed them families have a need to access affordable medicine, for example Maria Jose has not been able to get the medication she needs for her seizures.
Ten children from a nearby school also visited us this week. They joined in our activities and learned about children with disabilities. We love to have visitors and it was an important and fun experience for everyone. We are as passionate about children learning about people with disabilities, as children with disabilities being included in their community. Speaking of which, we are also preparing to be in a community parade with other school children early September. The local food cooperative, and hardware store are generously donating funding so we can buy white shirts like all the other children have, and a banner is being made for us at a discounted rate. We are thrilled that the local community is coming to know and support CIELO de Amor and the services we provide.
Children from a nearby school visit us.
With thanks to the continued support of our donors, little by little we are able to expand our work. We are now doing regular visits to the students who are included in public schools. We are evaluating the needs of the children and the staff, including environmental needs. One school needs ramps built so the child can more easily access the bathroom. Some staff have requested material support with paper and pens for the children, some need support to address behavior, as some children are easily distracted.
We were invited to do a presentation about our work on the local radio. Liseth, our psychologist, kindly volunteered to represent us and the show went very well. A great opportunity to let the community know about the services we are providing. We have also started doing more home visits in order to address activities of daily living. Liseth went to the home to evaluate the dressing skills of Adriana and Diana. Their mother was very appreciative of the visit and asked when Liseth would be coming again. She is hoping to visit at least once every two weeks.
Wilmer continues to follow up on children we have provided wheelchairs, and makes repairs as needed. We strive to provide an appropriate chair for the child, their disability and the environment. Unfortunately we do not always have access to the most suitable chairs, for example chairs that would be best for the bumpy, dirt roads. When we provide chairs we inform families that the simple folding wheelchairs are for transportation purposes and not for sitting in all day.
Physical therapy in the swimming pool continues well and we continue to receive new students. Not only are the children developing strength, endurance and flexibility, but they also build social skills and have another opportunity to be using community resources.
We continue to support development of skills in the classroom. Last week Jahoska , the physical therapist, informed me with great excitement that Elias, age 4, is starting to walk independently. Here is a photo of Derling practicing using a walker. Milagro goes to regular school. We provide her with more intensive and individualized services at CIELO de Amor to support her success at school. It has been helpful to get to know the children in a variety of settings, so that we can best meet their needs.