Editor’s Note: Medellín Living is hosting a fundraising event 7 p.m., Thursday, December 4, 2014 at Taramabana (a tapas restaurant in Rio Sur Mall, Poblado) to raise money and awareness for Mahavir Kmina – an amazing NGO that helps people without lower limbs access prosthetic legs.
Outside of the nice lifestyles that many of the expat community enjoy in Medellín, there is a different reality for some Colombians, with some facts and figures making for depressive reading.
According to the National Bureau of Statistics of Colombia, there are around 2.6 million people with physical disabilities in the country and around 760,000 Colombians that face mobility difficulties for various reasons: violence, armed conflict, traffic accidents, industrial accidents and diseases such as strokes and diabetes.
Indeed after Afghanistan, Colombia is the world’s second most affected country by land mines.
Since 1990 alone, there have been more than 10,000 recorded deaths and injuries from land mines, with Antioquia being one of the worst plagued regions. Many survivors will have lost their lower limbs, sadly many of whom are children.
Dave, Ryan and I recently learnt about the inspiring work that Mahavir Kmina does with people who are missing limbs.
Mahavir Kmina, a non-governmental organization based in La Estrella, helps them receive new prosthetic legs, thereby giving them a fresh start and a chance to reintegrate themselves into school, work and society.
The foundation provides lower limb amputees with prosthesis for life, free of charge, and contributes to the improvement of the quality of life of low-income people who have suffered an amputation.
They bring people from all over Colombia, including the Amazon and the Caribbean coast, to Medellín to fit them with new prosthetics. For many of the children who are supported, it will be the first time they will be able to walk, run and play.
In the spirit of giving this December, we want to mobilize the amazing readership at Medellin Living to help Mahavir Kmina give two children a fresh start in the New Year with their very own prosthetic limbs.
The two children are 4-year-old Angel and 11-year-old Juliana.
Both children have prosthesis now, but due to their young age, they need to be replaced every six to eight months. If this doesn’t happen, it affects the healthy development of their muscles and bones. Angel is due for his new prosthetic leg this month and Juliana is due in January 2015.
Meet Angel David
Angel was born with a rare genetic disorder that prevented his limbs from developing properly. Angel is from the Northern region of Colombia, Cordoba, and he dreams of being a runner and an athlete.
He wants to buy his family a little house with a real floor instead of the dirt one they have now.
Angel is in preschool and he is bright and energetic. Before he received his first prosthetic, he would get depressed because he could not run and play like his classmates. His mother worried that he might not develop the strength to stand upright all the time and walk, even with crutches.
The prosthetic leg helped Angel regain his self-esteem and better allows him to enjoy a happy and healthy childhood. He may very well be Colombia’s next superstar!
Meet Juliana Mejia
Juliana is an 11-year-old girl from Medellín who was born without her left foot.
She is a sweet and happy 5th grader who dreams of one day becoming a doctor to help other children like herself who are missing their legs.
Despite all her challenges, Juliana never stops smiling, and her new prosthetic leg will allow her to dance and play with her friends during recess.
To kick off our month-long fundraiser for Mahavir Kmina, Medellín Living is hosting a live event at 7 p.m. Thursday, December 4, 2014 at Tarambana, an authentic Spanish tapas restaurant, where we will learn more about the important work of Mahavir Kmina from representatives of the charity itself.
All attendees will have the opportunity to win one of five fun prizes donated by a handful of generous local business owners.
1. Dinner for two at Carmen (valued at 150,000 pesos)
2. Free city tour from Camilo Uribe of Medellín City Tours
3. Free one-hour salsa lesson at Santo Baile
4. Free two-hour Spanish class at Centro Interactivo de Español
5. Free dinner of the dozen wings combo (includes fries, blue cheese, carrots and celery, and either two beers or two sodas) at Vertigo Pub
In addition, Tarambana has kindly offered to donate 20 percent of all profits from our December 4 event and Medellín Living will contribute an initial $250 to get the ball rolling towards our goal of raising $1,000 by December 31.
If you’d like to help, we’ve set up a dedicated GlobalGiving page where our readers can donate online throughout the month of December.
The GlobalGiving site accepts major credit cards, PayPal and even wire transfers. There are some suggested donation amounts, or you can specify your own amount. The minimum is $10.
For those who plan to attend our event Thursday, we will also be taking donations at Tarambana. All donations go directly to Mahavir Kmina.
The holiday season is a time for giving back and we’re confident the community we have at Medellin Living will rally behind this wonderful cause.
Please spread the word about this week’s event and the important work done by Mahavir Kmina, and help us give two children a fantastic start to their 2015!