Healing Deep Wounds
A La Ceiba Rehabilitation Center is Helping Patients to Help Themselves. Ten Bay Islanders Take advantage of the Treatment

November 1st, 2008
by Thomas Tomczyk


Asmin Cornejo holds the hand of her 15-year-old daughter Saida who undergoes physical therapy at the CRILA clinic in La Ceiba.

Asmin Cornejo holds the hand of her 15-year-old daughter Saida who undergoes physical therapy at the CRILA clinic in La Ceiba.

In a society scarred by violence and marred in neglect, CRILA (Integral Rehabilitation Center on Northern Coast) is a shining example of how Hondurans help themselves recover from injuries. “Don’t give us your pity. Give us your support,” is the motto of the organization that originally began in 1998.

CRILA offers physical, occupational and psychological therapy, as well as special education. The center offers something no one else offers in La Ceiba or the entire northeast coast of Honduras: a chance of physical and psychological rehabilitation from diseases and trauma. Patients from as far as La Mosquitia, Trujillo and even San Pedro Sula come for treatment here, and ten patients from Bay Islands are currently undergoing therapy.

While Honduran Telethon, which funds nationwide rehabilitation centers, has been held for 28 years, for the past 10 it has promised La Ceiba a facility yet failed to deliver. Many Ceibenos felt forgotten by the national Teleton and acted to create their own rehabilitation center.

The CRILA clinic, located in a well-aged building across from the Barrio Ingle cemetery, was opened in July 2005. “We began with only one patient; now we are serving 40-50 a day,” said Miguel Montoya, a co-founder of the nonprofit. Many of the CRILA patients are victims of gun or white arms violence with wounds that are also psychological.

A head nurse, three physical therapists and a psychologist together with seven others work at the Barrio Ingles clinic. “We have 16-month-olds and 92-year-olds receiving treatment,” says Nancy Fleming, who volunteers as CRILA executive director. Fleming is in charge of the

One of the La Ceiba residents who used to pay up to Lps. 2,000 per trip to rehabilitation centers in San Pedro and Tegucigalpa is Asmin Cornejo. A single mother of four, working from home and on a limited income, Asmin had to find treatment for Saida, her 15-year-old daughter born with cerebral palsy, a brain disorder that affects her motor and brain development. For the last 3 months Saida has been undergoing twice-a-week physical therapy at CRILA, and pays Lps. 50 for each therapy session.

As the need is so great and facilities and doctors are limited, each patient is limited to three sessions a week. With patients offering between one and 50 Lempiras it is hard for the facility to keep operating and the bulk cost is borne by donations. On October 31, Crilaton will attempt to raise money for their new facility through a third ever Crilaton. In 2006 Crilaton raised $24,000 and in 2007 $150,000 was raised.

CRILA can be contacted via their website www.crila.org, or by calling: (504) 2441-4821 [/private]

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