In November 2002, Vamos Adelante established Informatica Amigos
(formerly Proyecto 4'4), a computer school for disabled
students in Guatemala City (Zone 6). Each year, at least 60 students
take courses on IT skills, basic literacy and
numeracy. Informatica Amigos tries to prepare its students for
a successful career and has already placed some of them in
permanent jobs in the city. It also offers a wide range of related activities for the disabled community, including motivational
training, painting, singing and dance classes.
The director of Informatica Amigos, Amarilis, is severely disabled herself. She now runs the computer school independent of Vamos Adelante. She and her students work together to seek funding for their school by submitting proposals via the computer and Internet.
Cerebral Palsy Support Group
is a student at Informatica Amigos who has formed a cerebral palsy
group. He attends university courses online and coordinates the
group's activities, which include computer lessons, dancing, and other social activities. This group has
attracted many students to Informatica Amigos and inspired
everyone involved. Joining Mario and others gives many Guatemalans
who have cerebral palsy a reason to get out of their homes, to learn and
to be a part of something meaningful. They have developed visions for their own
lives and grasped opportunities they never dreamed they would have.
Vamos Adelante finances high school and university scholarships for several Informatica Amigos students, and also helps with transportation and food costs for the poorest students. The support from Vamos Adelante has enabled many to obtain an education they otherwise could not have afforded. For example, a group of low-income, blind and deaf nuns have enrolled in computer courses that they couldn't afford anywhere else.
Through its school, Vamos
Adelante has established a large, informal network of disability
projects throughout Guatemala, and coordinates the distribution of wheelchairs to poor people around the country. In 2004, the
foundation passed out more than 300 free wheelchairs. We have also
helped to provide prosthetics to individuals who before couldn't afford them.In July 2004, Vamos Adelante
distributed more than 144 free wheelchairs at a special event in
Guatemala's capitol city. After spending months on the identification
of needy individuals, we coordinated a get-together for all recipients
in the presence of Wendy Berger, Guatemala's first lady, and our
friends at the Wheelchair Foundation, American Airlines' Airline
Ambassadors, and the local rotary club. Participants traveled to the
event from dozens of regions across the country. Some were carried by
their families or pushed in wheelbarrows for part of the journey.
Vamos Adelante continues to supply wheelchairs to families and children throughout Guatemala.