LSN has kept me extremely busy this week by taking me to sit in on organizing meetings, trainings, and visits to the homes of survivors. Although it’s only been a week, I feel as if I have been there for years already. The events that I have viewed this week have opened my eyes to the extraordinary work that LSN is doing to protect and advance the rights of people with disabilities.
The Week’s Recap: On Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday I accompanied 3/8 Outreach Workders (OWs) to their respective regions. This involves our driver, Oscar, ferrying us from meeting to meeting outside of San Salvador. To give you a better idea of the layout of EL Salvador, see the following map:
http://www.4elsalvador.com/images/mapa%20de%20el%20salvador%20.jpg. The map shows the departmental and zonal distinctions that divide the country.
This week, I have visited Ilobasco (in the Department of Cabanas, in the North), San Pablo Tacachico (in the Department of La Libertad-South), and a hospital in San Salvador. At the meetings, or ‘reunions’, as they are called, the OWs invite people with disabilities to come to the meeting to discuss their disability, how LSN might help them, and how they are able to help themselves. The type of disability-related injuries I viewed were numerous: motor accidents; amputations due to the civil war; diabetes; and malpractice, among others. The survivors are encouraged to invite other people with disabilities to the meetings as well. LSN, however, addresses the needs of individuals with physical disabilities, not mental disabilities.
The video here is a visit to the home of a survivor just outside Ilobasco: [youtube]cLBraiAoMCw[/youtube]
I attended an all-day small business training on Friday in Tacachico, in the Department of La Libertad in the South. The training gave survivors the basics to either begin planning how to run a small business or to strengthen their current business; most attendees belonged in the second camp. I was amazed at just how attentive and interested the attendees were, leaning forward in their chairs in earnest to better understand how to produce a product; how to sell better produce; how to navigate the business of selling and marketing chickens for the holidays; and learning more sustainable ways to manage their farms (the majority of the attendees had businesses in agriculture or fishing, especially of Tilapia). The mantra repeated throughout the training was “anyone can run a successful business-you just need confidence, a positive attitude, and the right tools to do so.” At the beginning of the training, the survivors were split into 3 groups of 3, and chose their own names: “The Survivors”, “The Veterans” and “The Honest Ones.”
I joined the team “Survivors” for the day and received my own diploma from LSN for completing the training. It was a momentous occasion. Now I have the tools to start planning my own agricola (agriculture) business…
Posted By Larissa Hotra
Posted Jun 5th, 2008