San Salvador, the capital city of El Salvador, is considered the deadliest city in the Western Hemisphere. Violence between gangs and police kills thousands every year, and often those affected are innocent.
Alicia was just a year old when she was caught in the crossfire between two gangs and shot, leaving her spinal cord injured and paralysed from the waist down. Now 8 years old, Alicia is an incredibly intelligent and independent little girl. When we met her, she was excited to practice her English with us and insisted on getting into her new chair unaided.
Alicia wanted more than anything to go to school. However, she could not; many schools in El Salvador refuse to accept children with disabilities on the basis of a lack of facilities and resources. For a competent and able childlike Alicia, for whom an education could truly open up a world of possibilities, this was something we could not accept.
When we returned to London, we worked with our local partner to ensure that we found a way to get Alicia into school. Thanks to her new functioning wheelchair, we were ecstatic to learn that a school took her and she is now receiving the education that she – and every child, no matter their circumstances – deserves.
In October 2016 Walkabout travelled to El Salvador to distribute 250 paediatric wheelchairs.
Several of the children we met had been spinal cord injured as a result of the gun violence that has plagued the country for so long. The capital, San Salvador, is considered the deadliest city in the Western Hemisphere. Alicia, one of our recipients, was caught in a crossfire between two gangs when she was just a year and a half old, leaving her paralysed from the waist down. She is now 8, loves pizza and learning English, and is an incredibly intelligent and independent little girl. She was delighted when we gave her a new wheelchair, as hers was far too small and falling apart, and insisted on getting into it without any help! We never cease to admire the strength and resilience of the children we meet on our distributions.
We want to say a huge thank you to all our donors, to our local partner, Fundación Red de Sobrevivientes, and to the team from Hope Haven Guatemala, many of whom are wheelchair users themselves and travelled all the way from their country to help us fit all the chairs.