Eternal Anchor’s Community Development team is producing a series of instructional, bilingual training videos that build on our expertise and knowledge when it comes to building adaptive equipment. When complete, these programs will enable other organizations that support those with disabilities to build standers, positional chairs, and other equipment using locally-available material.
Five years ago, Erin Cottos, who at the time was a volunteer physical therapist in Haiti, joined Eternal Anchor’s Love Extended team to teach participants how to build basic positional chairs and standers using locally found materials. According to the World Health Organization, it is estimated that by 2050, 2 billion people would benefit from assistive technology, yet 90 percent will not have access. “Too often, the solution is to send used equipment donations from high-resourced countries,” explained Erin. “While those donations are needed and appreciated, they are not always practical in different countries where activities of daily living, transportation, and living environments are very different. What is needed is a more sustainable model. If certain equipment can be made more functional to the environment with local materials, then more people will have access to adaptive equipment and are not dependent on just donations. This can be a game-changer for a child who is unable to sit and spends all day on their back. The world and your ability to learn and interact are totally different when you can be upright.”
That sustainability model is now used daily at our Mobility Equipment Workshop where Eternal Anchor’s team builds and modifies mobility equipment on a daily basis where PVC, wood, and parts from other mobility equipment are used, which also saves resources that can be used in other areas of Eternal Anchor. “We still need equipment donations,” said Leila Xanat Gómez, Director of Community Development. “But we are able to work more closely with individuals and organizations wishing to donate equipment to tell them exactly what we need, which allows unneeded items to be directed to other nonprofits. Everyone benefits!”
When complete, the new series of training videos will be available through Eternal Anchor’s YouTube channel. To be notified when the training videos are released, contact us at email@example.com.
Thanks to a generous donor who began a $75,000 matching gift challenge – and the dozens of additional donors who participated in the challenge – we raised $150,000 that will provide the necessary operating funds for Eternal Anchor’s special needs school for 12 months! “We are incredibly grateful for the gifts that allow the children at our school to continue to receive the education and critical services they deserve,” said Austin Robinson, executive director. “Every day, we are reminded of the lasting change Eternal Anchor and our partners who support our work through donations, prayer, and encouragement bring to many lives…one person at a time.”
According to Global Disability Rights, nearly one in 10 persons in Mexico has a functional disability, with a majority of them living in rural areas, like the San Quintin Valley. As the only organization in our community focused exclusively on disability, Eternal Anchor faces a daunting task. The only way we can hope to continue to make progress is with your ongoing support. Together, we really do make a difference!
Eternal Anchor is excited to welcome Cynthia Huerta from the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) in Galveston, TX to our family! Cynthia, who will graduate in August with her Doctor of Physical Therapy degree, will be with us for six weeks as a physical therapy intern working under the guidance of her professor and Eternal Anchor’s staff volunteer physical therapist, Erin Cottos.
Cynthia, who grew up and attended school through the fifth grade in Mexicali, is excited about an opportunity to experience working as a physical therapist in Mexico. “Since I’m originally from Baja and speak Spanish, this is like returning home,” she said. “Working with Eternal Anchor and experiencing how physical therapy is delivered in another culture will give me a new perspective as I begin practice as a physical therapist. And this is my heritage; it’s like coming home.”
This internship program is a perfect opportunity for students to experience how physical therapy is delivered in another culture,” said Erin. “They gain a better understanding and have a new perspective on physical therapy as they graduate and begin practicing on their own.” Cynthia is the fourth UTMB physical therapy intern to work at Eternal Anchor this year.