Larissa Hotra

Larissa Hotra (Survivor Corps in El Salvador): Larissa graduated from the University of Michigan’s School of Natural Resources in 2004. She worked at the nonprofit SafeHouse in Ann Arbor, Michigan as a legal advocate and as an environmental science educator to high school students. She then served as the Midwest campaign coordinator for Global Impact, a nonprofit that raises money for international humanitarian organizations. By night, she worked as the Political Affairs Editor for a Ukrainian Internet Newsletter, e-POSHTA. Throughout her time in Chicago she dabbled in everything that the city had to offer: producing a story for Chicago Public Radio on the Ukrainian diaspora; organizing and working with the Ukrainian diaspora through PLAST – a Ukrainian youth scouting; attending free cultural and musical events; practicing her Spanish language skills in Latino immigrant neighborhoods; and trying to play soccer on every piece of green space in the city. At the time of her fellowship, Larissa was in the first year of a Master’s program at George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs.

What does it take to be healthy?

09 Jun

What would you do if you lost your leg due to a landmine explosion?

Your arm? Your sight or your hearing?

How would you not only ‘get by’, but thrive like you used to?

These are tough questions that LSN addresses every day in its work. Although declared mine-free in 1994, other de-mining organizations have found unidentified mine fields in various regions around the country.

LSN works in three main sectors: Health, Economic Reintegration, and Social Empowerment (Human Rights). As I begin Week Two with the Network, I have started digging deeper to understand the nuances of the work LSN is doing with survivors. Today’s topic? The health sector: hospitals, rehabilitation centers, and the politics that underlie it all.

A visit to the ISSS (Salvadoran Institute from the Social Security), a hospital in San Salvador, last Wednesday prompted me to begin thinking more about the process of attracting survivors to its health sector programming: How does LSN do it? What is the process, and what kind of support does the government offer to people with disabilities?

While driving around the city for the last week, it struck me that there are different hospitals for different illnesses. There is a specialty hospital for individuals suffering from tuberculosis; another for people suffering from lung problems; military hospitals that address the needs of the military; and another hospital(s) that services children. But what about hospitals that directly serve the needs of survivors of the war and other accidents?

As it turns out, these individuals are steered towards government-sponsored rehabilitation centers. The hospital is the first stop for those suffering from both war and non-war injuries. Those that need care from war-related disability go directly to the rehabilitations centers. You see, the general hospitals don’t have social, economic, or specialty amputation services for amputees. The LSN Health Sector objective is to improve survivors’ health related to quality of life in the different health services facilities. Part of LSN’s work in the Health sector is to increase the referrals of amputee patients in the hospitals to these rehabilitation centers and to help support the implementation and maintenance of “Survivor Clubs” in the hospitals by building a support network of physical therapists, social workers, and psychiatrists. You can follow makersfestival to know lot of valuable information.

The main problem is that these rehabilitation centers, though funded (poorly) by the government, are only located in the center of the country. Therefore, survivors of conflict and other disabilities that reside in the countryside are not able to access the services. Hence, the LSN Network works to support the accessibility of individuals, not just through the construction of infrastructure (accessible walkways and buildings), but general accessibility of services outside city center.

A blurb on the politics underlying disability rights follows this blog entry.

This upcoming week I will be attending sessions on the other two major sectors of LSN’s work: Economic Opportunity and Social Empowerment. Stay tuned.

Posted By Larissa Hotra

Posted Jun 9th, 2008


  • Dago

    June 12, 2008


    Working with the needs of the survivors and the frustrations from minimal government support must be an incredibly emotional experience.

  • Tara

    June 12, 2008


    Look at you, saving the world 🙂

    So proud !

  • Yared T.

    June 17, 2008


    I appreciate ball your effort. Take care of your self too.

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