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Helping People Living with Disabilities in Ecuador

Mari Velasco profile image

Mari Velasco

Little girl and woman smiling at each other

This article was originally published in the Idealistas Blog on September 24, 2021.

Years ago, life took an unexpected turn for María Isabel and Jaime, who met while seeking treatment at a center for individuals with neurological disabilities. María Isabel’s younger daughter, Sara, developed a neurological disability, and Jaime was left quadriplegic after a tragic motorcycle accident.  Upon meeting, they spoke about their circumstances and exchanged ideas about improving services for people living with disabilities in their area. From that faithful meeting, they decided to undertake a project to help others whose lives had been touched by disability. 

María Isabel and Jaime wanted to create an affordable, comprehensive therapy center to help people with neurological disabilities and their families. In their quest to make their dream a reality, they met Freddy Hernández, a physiotherapist offering specialized services to people with different types of disabilities. The three of them soon created  Fundación Triada, a nonprofit organization that has impacted the lives of more than 400 families in the last 10 years. 

Executive Director María Isabel says, “Our objective was to provide care and treatment to people with neurological disabilities regardless of their age, condition, or economic situation; as well as provide support and training for their families. In December 2011, we saw our dream come true with the birth of Fundación Triada.”

Initial challenges

The decision to create Fundación Triada was motivated by the lack of quality, affordable services available for people living with neurological disabilities in the area. Upon having difficulty finding specialized treatment for her daughter, María Isabel realized that thousands of other families were likely encountering the same issues. "With the creation of Fundación Triada,  we were looking to bring together other people with the same needs so that they can receive supportive attention and a lot of love in the same place.  We wanted to provide inclusive services at affordable prices.”

I recently visited María Isabel at Fundación Triada, and I was struck by the joyous atmosphere when I arrived. It’s a lovely place, surrounded by trees and plants, and thanks to some generous donations, the facility maintains impeccably equipped rooms. Above all, the staff at Fundación Triada is wholly committed to offering excellent services to people with disabilities. 

When we met, María Isabel shared, "Our greatest gratification has been seeing children in wheelchairs who arrive without the ability to move, and who, after six months of therapy and a lot of support, can now walk."

This short video highlights the services offered at Fundación Triada:

Moving Forward

Since the start of the pandemic, Fundación Triada has also been helping families connect with other community services. María told me: "I see Fundación Triada as a channel. We know many families with enormous needs, and we have an extensive network of contacts who are eager to help. We have served as a bridge to help meet the needs of the families we serve." With the help of partnerships made with private institutions and supportive allies, Fundación Triada continues to address the multiple needs of people with disabilities and their families.”

Currently, María Isabel is working on creating a therapeutic group for mothers and relatives of children with disabilities. "What I would like to do is to form a supportive community for families so that they do not have to walk this hard road alone. When we have the help that we need, it can change our lives."


Check out other inspiring stories of people who have moved from intention to action in our Ideas for Action blog.

Mari Velasco profile image

Mari Velasco

Coordinadora de Idealist para Iberoamérica. Me encargo de dar soporte a nuestros usuarios y organizaciones en la región, además de alimentar con contenidos útiles al sitio de Idealist en español y contribuir para potenciar el impacto positivo de organizaciones e iniciativas solidarias.