EL SALVADOR: Don Bosco University partners with news channel to provide prosthetic leg for a father so he could continue to support his family
(MissionNewswire) The Don Bosco University in Soyapango, El Salvador, through its Faculty of Sciences of Rehabilitation, recently partnered with the city’s Channel 12’s “Hola El Salvador” program to fulfill the dream of Jairo Alemán, a father and bus driver who lost his leg to an infection.
Nearly 15 years ago, Alemán suffered from mycetoma, which caused serious damage to the bones in his left leg. Amputating the leg became necessary in May 2018 to prevent further spread of the infection. Alemán and his wife Elsa Gálvez sought support to obtain a prosthesis so that he could return to work and support their young daughters, but they failed to get the help they needed.
Gálvez learned of the “Hola El Salvador” program’s Christmas special called “12 dreams,” which made dreams come true for 12 people. She wrote to the program’s editorial staff, explaining the situation and her husband’s need for a prosthesis to return to his normal life.
The “Hola El Salvador” production staff contacted Don Bosco University to produce a prosthesis for Alemán. Carlos Zelaya, director of the Orthotics and Prosthetics School at Don Bosco University, and Elías Chacón, a student in the program, got to work and quickly developed a trans-tibial modular prosthesis made with duralumin modules and stainless steel.
Five days before Christmas Eve, Alemán’s dream came true and he received his prosthesis as a gift. His life is now different. He has been given back hope, joy and autonomy to continue his life. It’s not only positively impacts him, but his entire family.
“The Orthotics and Prosthetics School at Don Bosco University is changing lives,” said Father Gus Baek, director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “Projects that are taking place at Don Bosco University pave the way for advanced research, learning and innovation that helps aid inclusion of people with disabilities.”
Don Bosco University is one of the most prestigious institutions of higher education in the country, particularly in the technical and technological sector. The university has close to 6,000 students enrolled and maintains a strong link to the local employment sector through research, technology transfer programs, continuing education courses and consultancy services.
Degree programs are offered in engineering, social sciences, humanities, economics, technology and aeronautics, among others. The university is also the only teaching center in the country that has the accreditation of the International Society of Orthotics and Prosthetics.
El Salvador is one of the most violent countries in Central America, along with Honduras and Guatemala. The murder rate in El Salvador rose more than 44 percent in the beginning months of 2014 when compared to the same time period the year before. In 2016, San Salvador was named the murder capital of the world, seeing more murders and violent crime than any other city. Gang violence is a leading cause of violence in the country, and it’s estimated that some 60,000 young people have gang affiliation. Gang involvement often offers a sense of belonging and family that counters the lack of education and employment opportunities offered in the country.
Crime is often associated with poverty and close to 35 percent of El Salvador’s population lives in poverty, according to the World Bank. Youth in El Salvador are confronted not only with poverty, but with instability, high levels of violence and inadequate access to educational opportunities. Despite ranking high for economic indicators, the need for practical education in El Salvador is more important than ever with 12 percent of youth ages 15 to 24 unemployed and 41 percent underemployed.
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Salesian Missions – El Salvador
World Bank – El Salvador