This summer, Bolivia experienced another sad, yet passionate annual protest, orchestrated by thousands of disabled people. People in wheelchairs, amputees on crutches, and many other heartbreaking disabled souls staged a courageous, yet peaceful protest this past summer. Disabled activists “marched” 100s of miles to the capital using their crutches and wheelchairs, and even just limping along. They camped in central La Paz for more then a month, calling for a five-fold increase in disability benefits. They are asking for a stipend of $75/month to help them survive without jobs, due to their tragic disabilities, but the government has rejected their demands.
The prosthetic foundation is politically impartial and so does not try to take sides. But this gathering of people brought a lot of Bolivians out of their homes, who otherwise would be hiding, in pure shame, due to their disabilities. It has given us a chance to take flyers, cards and just talk with people about the charity, its values and what we hope to offer these people. We have already provided prosthetic legs for some of the protesters and we are working on more.
These individuals might not have come across to La Paz, without the protest. We hope to do as much as we can for people in this situation so they can go back to work –and ultimately provide for their families. After all, that is the fundamental vision for FUNPROBO.
This is just one example of the very low level of support that disabled Bolivians can rely on, and why our work to provide free prosthetic limbs to these same low-income disabled amputees is so necessary.