During a year long travel adventure through Central and South America, Wendy McClellan took a 2 month respite from her newly annointed fiancee, Mark, and their motorbike trip to come to Cochabamba and undertake a volunteer position with Sustainable Bolivia. With her brand new degree in Occupational Therapy, Wendy had tons of theroretical knowledge and book smarts that she just couldn’t wait to put to use with Puntiti, a care center that offers educational and rehabilitation services to people with special needs. After a few weeks at Puntiti, Wendy finally found her stride and decided to undertake a project making customized back and side supports for patients that are limited to wheelchair use. With the support of her friends and family back home in Australia, Wendy launched a fundraiser and managed to earn $1,100 that was used to buy all the necessary wheelchair support supplies and other educational and therapy related items.
Here is a recap of Wendy’s project with Puntiti from her latest blog post. Enjoy!
“After those initial few weeks l had started to really focus on seating which was as much a learning process for me as what l hope was a help for the organization. Using a lot of blue foam, material, glue and many chats with the physiotherapist and the two Spanish girls, Anna and Natalia, who were volunteering as physiotherapists at Puntiti. We started working with the children with the greatest issues with positioning and worked from there. It was a great project for me that then led into being able to observe how all of these children’s conditions affected their tone and position and consequently their overall health.”
“During this l was observing the lack of occupation for many of the children in the orphanage during the day and the lack of resources that the organization had to assist with this. So after many chats with the other volunteers and the SB chaps we decided that l would run a fundraiser to raise money for more resources for seating/ positioning, for the therapists to broaden their treatment and for staff/ volunteers to run activities with the children. In the end we raised $1180 for Punititi and were able to achieve what l hope will be a long lasting contribution to the organization.”
“And so that was Bolivia, beautiful, filled with great new friends and great times. I will miss the SB community greatly, it was fabulous to be surrounded by people with passionate intentions and strong views ready to discuss anything over a beer, bottle of wine, empanada or a walk through the city. I felt truly alive in that context, being heart and soul in the work and surrounded by such great people.”