ADISA – GUATEMALA
The Association of Parents and Friends of People with Disabilities
“Por una comunidad inclusiva”
On April 22, ADISA, an EPIC program partner, began distributing basic food provisions to 80 prioritized families that cannot afford enough to eat. All families have disabled members and have been participating in ADISA’s programs. ADISA’s various programs work to enable persons with disabilities achieve their full and effective participation in the community. ADISA’s objective is a just and inclusive society, where people with disabilities are recognized as equal and contributing members.
When Francisco Sojuel and María Argentina Figueroa’s third child, Nila Eliza, was born with hydrocephalus and later contracted meningitis, they were made aware of the lack of services available for people with disabilities in Santiago Atitlán, Guatemala. They began to contact other parents with similar needs and organize a support system for children with disabilities.
At its founding, in 1998, ADISA only attended to three families, but overtime, it has grown to become a leading organization in Latin America. Today, using a community-based rehabilitation strategy, ADISA offers healthcare, education, and economic empowerment programs to more than 500 people with disabilities each year.
While the COVID-19 pandemic has altered the way in which they implement their programs, ADISA’s dedicated team members have not stopped supporting people with disabilities and their families. The teachers, physical therapists, psychologists, and speech therapist are calling participants and their families weekly to provide follow-up care as well as information on COVID-19 prevention. During this crisis, ADISA’s focus has shifted to minimizing the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the families in their programs and the community at large.
The majority of the families that they work with live in extreme poverty. Even the businesses of the families of the economic empowerment program are severely impacted by the government’s order to close businesses and stay home. As of April 22nd, ADISA began distributing food supplies to 80 prioritized families that can no longer afford to put food on their tables. All of these families have members with disabilities.