Rosa Romero, who is the mother of a mentally disabled child, founded the association Ayudemos a vivir ("Let's Help People Live").
She made the decision of accepting her child's disability and devoting her life to his well-being. Therefore, she created this association not only to provide her own son with an appropriate service, but also to help other families who are in a similar situation.
Since 18 April 1996, the association has been organising various activities to improve the conditions of disabled children and their families by integrating them into an educational process consisting of supervision of their health and nutrition through physical therapy, language therapy, occupational therapy and their involvement in the Paralympic Games.
Rosa is a self-educated woman. She has read every book about different useful therapies for her son and has learnt from the therapists who work for the association. In fact, she is often surprised that she actually knows more than the therapists themselves!
She fights on all fronts: she is part of the National Council for Childhood (having participated in the drafting of the Childhood Code) and works for the only insurance company for disabled people in Ecuador as well as for an institution that provides disabled people with disability cards.
Her action involves much more than helping and assisting disabled people: it is also about protecting and securing their rights as well as changing people's mentality.
And such a tough job for only one woman, who has to rely on her constant dynamism to achieve her goals.
Offers different activities aimed at improving the living conditions of children with disabilities by integrating them into a process of education, listening, health and dietary supervision.
On 2 March 2013, a ceremony celebrating the achievements of Lenin Moreno was held in Quito. Moreno, a former Vice President and he himself paraplegic, devoted much of his time whilst in office to disability rights in Ecuador. AYUDEMOS Vivir, an organisation that was strongly affected by the important changes initiated by the Vice-President, attended the event.
As soon as they arrived at the stadium, the young beneficiaries of the charity along with their parents were ushered to the front row, where they had the best seats in the house for the show. The youngsters were blown away and extremely proud to have been invited.
The festivities kicked off with a concert by Ecuadorian singers. The young guests were given the opportunity to join in with the singing and dancing. The official opening of the ceremony was marked by a fanfare. This was followed by a parade featuring the National Police, accompanied by disabled athletes who had participated in the Paralympic style competition, organised by the Vice President.
The long-awaited arrival of Lenin Moreno met an enthusiastic reception from the crowd. The stadium was filled with applause, a sign of the audience’s recognition of Moreno’s involvement in improving disability rights. The morning was brought to a close by several speeches and thanks, all delivered with intense emotion.
The production team is best known as the “Adventurers of Sustainable Development”; the Traimany family, headed by father, Deth, and mother, Delphine, and their four musketeers: Louann, Morven, Goulven, and Sanouk (aged 3 to 13 years).
Mission of Terre21*: To help associations and local initiatives working in sustainable development to improve their visibility, by creating video presentations during the family’s world tour. And “Action!”
Latest challenge, as of March 15, 2012: As a result of contact with Ayudemos a Vivir in Quito, children at the Foundation were filmed during therapy and recreation. An interview with the coordinator concluded this eventful day.
One More Option is delighted to have shared a moment in the life of this joyful family, and to have been able to facilitate contact between them and the Foundation, and we wish them a successful end to their voyage. The Ayudemos a Vivir Association has in this way been able to share its daily life with the lens of their camera…
…next episode to follow…
*Constituted as an association, the family maintain a website and a blog, on which they recount their journey and publish their photos and videos: http://www.terre21.fr/
The association is located in the Chillos Valley at Conocoto, an eastern suburb of the city of Quito. Located in the Pichincha region, Conocoto is the place of residence for many workers in Quito.
The founder, Rosa Romero, who is currently the general coordinator, has a son who is mentally disabled. She decided to accept her son’s disability and to dedicate her life to his well-being as well as that of other children in the same circumstances.
The association “Ayudemos a vivir” was thus created on April 18, 1996 and is constituted as a nongovernmental association of parents of disabled children. Over the years, more and more poor families in Quito and its environs have built relationships with the organization, which is recognized for giving children good, complete, and necessary care.
Thanks to the efforts of members of the association, in 2009, the INFA (National Institute for Families and Children) offered the association premises permitting them to install different therapy rooms, a kitchen to ensure that the children can have a snack after their treatments plus a balanced meal every day, as well as various indoor and outdoor play areas.
Little by little, the organization has hired a staff of young and competent specialists in the different domains required to give the necessary care to its beneficiaries.
The organization received a recommendation from INFA to continue to care for the disabled after they have reached adulthood and to pursue the improvement of their condition, for a nominal price in order to be accessible to indigent families.
- Rehabilitation Center: Av. Jaime Roldos Aguilera, parroquia de Conocoto
• Home and Office of Rosa Romero: Azcàzubi E3-35 y 9 de Octubre, Quito
Rosa Romero, general coordinator: 08 48 36 158
The founder, Rosa Romero, educated herself regarding disability. She reads every book she can find on the subject. She sometimes surprises herself by teaching the therapists things they didn’t know. She is in change of relationships with public institutions, families of beneficiaries, and other actors having an impact on the association. It was thus on her initiative that training meetings began to be held with parents of beneficiaries, that open-door days allow people to see the organization’s activities, that doctors have seen and confirmed the improvements achieved by beneficiaries.
Lorena Arevalo is a psychotherapist and director of the Conocoto Center. She is a professional who is very involved in her two missions.
To improve the quality of life of children, adolescents and adults who present different disabilities, especially severe mental retardation, while respecting their rights and encouraging family and community involvement.
- To contribute to the complete development of children, adolescents and adults by taking actions in terms of prevention, education, health, and nutrition
- To reinforce the capacity of family members for attention and protection
- To improve family ties and promote both communication between generations and between family members with and without disabilities
- Speech therapy
- Physical therapy
- Occupational therapy
- Daily life activities: cooking, tying shoelaces, holding a crayon or a fork, for example
- Participation in Special Olympics and other activities
The organization concerns itself with boys, girls, adolescents, and adults showing profound mental disabilities, from the city of Quito and its surroundings. These are children from families in difficult economic conditions, marginalized by circumstances and by their social situation, a situation that produces broken homes, poverty, abandonment, and little opportunity for employment for their families. These children suffer from a lack of attention despite having greater needs due to their disabilities.
In 2012, about 40 children were enrolled in daily activities.