QUITO – A white flag tied to a wooden stick waving over a poor house in the Quito neighborhood of La Independencia lets a specialized brigade know that a disabled person lives there.
The brigade – which is comprised of physicians, specialists in dealing with disability and members of the armed forces – is part of the Las Manuelas mission, a government program that provides assistance to the country’s disabled.
In this case, the beneficiary is 4-year-old Angelica, who can’t walk or speak.
Angelica was born with hydrocephalus, which causes intellectual disability, as well as epilepsy and atopic dermatitis.
“I feel very grateful because I never thought they would help me and come to my house,” Enelema, the girl’s mother, told EFE, adding that the child needs to visit the hospital often and requires a lot of medication, which comes at a great expense.
Enelema, who lives with her three kids in a modest room, said that she suffered from pre-eclampsia while pregnant with Angelica.
During this first encounter with Las Manuelas, the team prepares a report to help provide comprehensive assistance to the family, going beyond meeting only their bare necessities.
“The mission aims to organize state interventions to improve the quality of life for people with disabilities and their families,” said Maria Amelia Espinosa, sub-secretary of Las Manuelas.
The mission received a second wind when, in November 2017, President Lenin Moreno – who is a paraplegic since 1998 – helped launch the initiative in 2009 during his tenure as Vice President.
Moreno on Tuesday presented the work of Las Manuelas at the Global Disability Summmit in London Las Manuelas has a budget of $22 million and has located as many as 53,000 disabled people.
The mission expects reaching 70,000 homes by the end of the year.