Born with spina bifida, a birth defect in which a developing baby’s spinal cord fails to develop properly, Romina might easily have spent her life on the sidelines. Although she has a devoted family who had been able to get her a wheelchair, the problem was that it was far too big, meaning she was unable to reach the wheels or move around independently.
Fortunately, a clinician at a rehabilitation center near Romina’s home town in El Salvador, had received training from UCP Wheels for Humanity (UCPW) staff. Using a Liberty wheelchair, manufactured by UCPW, he custom fit it specifically for Romina, enabling her to sit comfortably, reach the wheels and move around on her own. That, coupled with Romina’s irresistible vitality, was enough to change everything.
With her newfound independence, Romina became the first wheelchair user to enroll at her school, where her joyfulness and charisma quickly made her the most popular kid in class. Known throughout her community as simply, La Reina (Queen), Romina now loves to act in school plays, dance, and take part in local parades.
Following Romina’s lead, a second child who uses a wheelchair has enrolled at Romina’s school, and the local mayor has found funding to make the town more accessible to wheelchair users. At the tender age of 6, Romina, has had a more positive impact on her community than most people do in a lifetime – breaking down barriers and challenging perceptions that keep too many people with disabilities excluded from society.