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Pina palmera - History

Piña Palmera’s background:

1984, Frank Douglas (1932 – 1986) built a kids shelter for children with disabilities and/or abandoned ones, after he had detected that there was a lack of rehabilitation options for children with disability and just a few possibilities for their families to respond to their children’s’ needs.

Anna Johansson from Sweden assumed the executive board of the CenterNovember 1986, when Frank Douglas unexpectedly passed away. That time lived 19 children, five workers and four volunteers in the Center.

In February 1989, Piña Palmera was legally notarized as Civil Association: “Centro de Atención Infantil Piña Palmera„. In the same year, the relation with the project PROJIMO in Sinaloa, founded by David Werner, was initiated, which brought us for the first time in contact with a model of Rehabilitation Based on the Community.

From 1990, we started to visit adjoining communities to Piña Palmera, at the same time than receiving professional volunteers who offered constant training in occupational and physical therapy.

1991, the personnel of Piña Palmera received training by APAC (Asociación Pro Personas con Parálisis Cerebral, I.A.P.) and by CREE (Centro de Rehabilitación y Educación Especial). The same year in June, we attained a weekly program in the local radio station of Puerto Angel, where the personnel of Piña Palmera bandies our institution’s work and deals with diverse issues about health and disability.

1993, we carried the first Sensitization Towards Disability workshops in Pochutla and in others communities around out. We established an agreement with the Ibo-American University in Mexico City, so that students of Psychology and Nutrition careers could fulfill their practices and their Social Service in the Center.

In September 1994, we initiated the program Rehabilitation Based on and with the Community (RBC), taking as reference the WHO manual (Read the report from the occupational therapist Helen Eidlitz about the first two years of this program).

In April 1997, we firmed a contract of mutual collaboration with the national DIF (Sistema Nacional para el Desarollo Integral de la Familia), from which we received a rehabilitation module. In the same year, Piña Palmera started to consult other organizations with similar aims about issues related to disability and integral rehabilitation (Read the informative bulletin 34, Summer 1997).

8th of October 1997, the Hurricane Paulina beat upon the coast of Oaxaca, destroying nearly everything of Piña Palmera’s installations.

1998, a project of constructing new installations was initiated, and in April 2000, we inaugurated the medical and rehabilitation area.

In May 1999, we initiated a project of cropping five hectares with Papaya Maradol, in order to intend to achieve a bigger grade of auto-financiation for the Center. The floods of that year destroyed the whole papaya plantation.

In December visited us representatives of the Lifesaver Organization of Singapore on invitation from C.A.I. Piña Palmera and the Lifesaver Joaquin Venado, in order to give a course about training lifesavers with disability in the DIF installations in Oaxaca.

March 2000, we firmed a contract with the government of Japan, which financed the construction of new dormitories for volunteers and users of the Center. We inaugurated these new houses at the 29th of February 2001.

At the 21st of May 2000, the first phone line was installed in C.A.I. Piña Palmera, jointly with the arrival of the first phone lines to Zipolite. In September, we initiated the first five workshops for Institutional Strengthening, given by the Sociologist Maria del Carmen Morales from the organization Espiral. The whole staff of the Center participated. In November, we carried out the Second National Congress of Organizations Affiliated to the APAC Network, with the issue of Rehabilitation Based in and on the Community, where 17 representatives from all over the country assisted.

In December 2001, we participated in a Colloquium of Disability and Culture in the ENAH (Escuela Nacional de Antropología e Historia), where we made an exposition of our work, and where we gave a “Sensitization Towards Disability„ workshop. The same week, we participated in a forum from CONACULTA.

In April 2001, we inaugurated the handicraft shop and workshop which we have constructed, thanks to the support from AGIR from France, the Finnish Embassy and other foreign organizations.

2002, the Anthropologist Yolanda Muñoz carried out an investigation on disability and gender, through a comparative study between Piña Palmera and Cuetzalan (Community in the North of the state Puebla).

In the year 2003, we’ve been invited to participate in the Scranton University (USA) with a presentation about Disability and Community with students of Psychology.

In July 2004, we participated in the 2nd Workday about Disability and Development in Quito (Ecuador) with a presentation of Disability and RBC, and in September in the Forum against Discrimination in Mexico City.

In the same year, we participated with a presentation in the First National Forum of the Organizations of the Civil Society, Summing Efforts for Health in Mexico, Mexico City.

In November 2004, we participated with the presentation Disability and Rurality in the Seminar of Disability and Reduction of Poverty BID in Washington D.C.

2004, we participated in the Interchange of Experiences in Rehabilitation Based on the community in Stockholm, Sweden.

In the year 2004, we initiated the joint work with PROJIMO, Más Validos in Sinaloa.(Mexico) and CAMADDS in Chiapas and with persons who work on the issue disability in the network Disability and Community.

In the year 2005, we presented a unit in the Forum of University Psychology in the University of the Gulf of Oaxaca.

Principal achievements, 1984 to 2005:

  • Piña Palmera exists and develops during 21 years, and we attended to more than 5000 users and their families.

  • General changes in the attitude of the population in the area through workshops for sensitization with doctors, teachers and other local authorities and through the local radio program. Nowadays, the major part of the people in the area where we are working knows and uses the terms disability and rehabilitation.

  • The active participation of our users inside their families and their communities, in school or in work, and their interaction in different social and religious activities.

  • Social and academic integration of youths with very low incomes and with or without evident disabilities. We helped youths who are studying in the University of Oaxaca or Puebla now or who prepare themselves to elevate their academic level. We also have achieved to integrate children with disability in primary schools of the District of Pochutla.

  • Women’s participation in the creation of familiar vegetable gardens and in the coordination of activities in Piña Palmera.
    The integration of youths from High Schools in the area as volunteer promoters in the Center and in the Communities.

  • Life-saver program for persons with and without evident disability.
    “Intense Rehabilitation Programs„ for disabled persons.
    Summer and Spring Camps for children with and without disability.
    Productive workshop of handicraft toys and recycling paper, directed by persons with disability.

  • Achieving that children and youths with disability receive their first communion, each one learning the catechism due to his possibilities.

  • Contract with the Ibo American University, in order to receive students for practices and Social Service (since 1993).

  • Training of dumb youths in Mexican Sign Language since 1990.

  • Improved detection and training of disabled persons, especially of children of minor age.

  • We have indirectly contributed to the establishment of four Schools for Special Education by the SEP (Secretaría de Educación Publica) at the coast.

  • Our work has resulted in the formation of three organizations for disabled persons, with which we are working.

  • Integration of new children and youths with physical, visual or hearing disability in different grades of the public school.

  • Three youths with disability, who have been rehabilitated in Piña Palmera, finished their studies in Physiotherapy, Psychology and Audits.

  • We amplified our work on RBC with two communities in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec.

  • The coordination with different institutions on national, international, private and governmental level, in order to train personnel in Rehabilitation Based on the Community.

Achievements in the Center’s organization:

  • Democratization of the decision taking process.

  • The majority of our personnel works in Piña since more than five years.

  • Constant participation of national and international volunteers.

  • Carrying the process of “Institutional Strengthening„ out.

  • Participation of Psychologists in Piña Palmera.

  • Participation in the program of different students on national and international level by practices and/or by social service.