|Dr Sophia Jan|
Nuestro Camino / Our own Road. (2000)
Directed by John Montoya
Writing credits Charlotte K.
||In November 2000, this film won “The Oscar of medical
a Freddie Award for “Special People” in the Time Inc. International Medical
This movie documents a crucial moment in PROJIMO history.
Because of increasing drug-related violence in and near Ajoya, people would no
longer come to Ajoya with children. The group opened a clinic in Coyotitan.
PROJIMO split in 1999, when part of the group decided to permanently relocate to
This movie shows the beginning of PROJIMO-Coyotitan, with the construction of
the first buildings on the new site.
Review on the Internet:
|"Our Own Road":
The Story of Project PROJIMO in Mexico
By Barbara Kolucki (email@example.com)
Project PROJIMO in rural Mexico is often called "Little Berkeley" because
over the past eighteen years people in the community have learned to
consider it normal to see children and adults who are disabled as integral
parts of the community. And even more so, they see them as active
participants and leaders in their own lives.
"Our Own Road" is a 27-minute video about this project. It is a
well-produced documentary about this pioneering project in Western Mexico.
David Werner, its founder, is well known to nearly, if not all, in the field
of community based rehabilitation around the world. PROJIMO has been the
model for many CBR projects in numerous countries. It has weathered many
growing pains and continues to live and breathe the philosophy "Nothing
about us, without us".
The video is primarily a narration with numerous sound-bites from David
Werner and many of the employees at the center, all (I think) who were
residents at one time. They talk about the philosophy of people with
disabilities helping each other and that at a local level, one can find a
local solution. No one is turned away.
David tells the viewer that most of the time, parents come to PROJIMO with
the hope that their children can get some magic cure. It takes time, he
says, but slowly they learn that disability "does not mean less valid - or
'in valid'. The center is not about making people who are disabled "normal",
but rather about embracing and celebrating diversity and difference.
We see that the center is very practical. Families are given suggestions of
what they can do when they get home - from playing a game with a little girl
that encourages her to use the hand that is disabled to adaptations for the
many activities of daily living. The work and philosophy of the center is
about inclusion in every sense of the word. When the playground was being
built - children were included in helping to build it, as were all adults.
It was not built by non-disabled folks for children with disabilities.
Many of the former residents have stayed on as employees. Most do not have a
great deal of education, but they learned to do everything from the daily
chores of sweeping and washing clothes to the accounting that keeps track of
all the wheelchairs or other aids that are made and distributed. The world
at PROJIMO is adapted for people's capabilities, not their disability. They
can do just about everything that is needed to be done - for themselves and
There are a few especially effective moments in the film.
One is when we see a woman working with wood while she sings a sweet song.
Marielos] We are watching her, her face and hands for some time.
Many directors would not allow such an extended shot for this length of
time. But here it is very natural and it infuses more "humanity" than in the
usual documentary style production.
The video gives away the "recipe" for the best cure for pressure sores. We
don't watch the process of cleaning but discover how the honey and water
mixture that is used to pack the wound after cleansing absorbs the infection
and prevents bacteria from growing. I get angry and mystified whenever I see
or read about this "recipe" - knowing that hundreds upon hundreds of
children and adults are dying without knowing about this simple "cure".
David talks about the changes and problems that have faced PROJIMO over the
years. Many people in the town have had no work and have turned to drugs and
alcohol. There has been an increase in gangs. Many have been shot -
including one man we hear from whom was trying to leave gang life and one
day was not only shot himself - but the bullet also went through his baby
and killed her.
This scenario has caused many problems for the center. Some people would not
come to PROJIMO because they knew that some of these gang members who were
there as residents did not give up their habits when they were shot and
became disabled. Often, they had to be kicked out. But, David tells us that
when some of them were given the chance to learn a skill and provide a
needed service to others, they become "skilled and caring rehabilitation
workers". We see this same man whose child was killed talking about teaching
others - and the joy he finds in this.
In recent years, a new Center has been built - the Coyotitan Clinic. It is
in town and in a safer area. This Clinic is one example of many projects
that have started elsewhere in Mexico as a result of Project PROJIMO. These
are all community-based rehabilitation (CBR) projects. They bring the
service to the community. And this has not only happened in Mexico but in
many countries around the world.
I, like many, have been impressed with this project and the impact that
David Werner has had on the field of rehabilitation and work in developing
countries. I have always wanted to visit PROJIMO and in fact, to help with
making a video, especially one for and about children. Seeing this
production is almost like making a real visit. Working primarily for and
with children, I would have liked to have heard from a few of the
youngsters. But if this is the only comment I have about the video - well,
you know it is a good production.
The pride, strength, practicality and ability of people who are disabled at
PROJIMO are what the video is all about.
|Our Own Road
Executive Producer: Charlotte K. Beyers
Robert Beyers died in 2002.
Charlotte Beyers died in 2005. She was 73.
963 Hamilton Ave.
Palo Alto, CA 94301 USA
Page last modified:
October 27, 2011
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