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Focusing
on a positive impact

Interview 2018 J&J OYW Scholar Paulina: Help people with a limb amputation walk again

Paulina López Uribe lives in Mexico and is a physical therapy program coordinator and co-founder of a prosthetic and physical therapy services organization. She loves to connect and build alliances in her sector and is striving with energy and compassion to make the world a better place.

 

To start – what does the Johnson & Johnson One Young World Scholarship Program mean to you? What impact has it made?

Paulina: The opportunity of getting to know and learn from other changemakers, has truly made a difference to me. It’s a space where you can share, be yourself and take action. The sense of reciprocity that I have experience has been very inspiring to me. It helped me realize that I can make things work in this world. I gained more confidence in my actions and now I take leadership in driving things forward while still being the same compassionate person. It’s amazing that I can keep in touch with OYW ambassadors from my Latin America as well as with my buddy team. We are still communicating, collaborating and stimulating each other.

Please describe a little bit more about the work that you do?

Paulina: PROACTIBLE is a social enterprise that helps people with a lower limb amputation to walk again. We provide an integral service that returns autonomy to people with an amputation in a comfortable, functional and accessible way with the help of physical therapy and prosthetic services.

In Mexico, only 10 out of 100 people have access to a prosthesis, and of those 10 only a third part will use it. In 2018, we managed to increase the number of people who has access to a prosthesis and uses it by more than 2% in our country. In addition, we provided more than 400 hours of physical therapy and over 100 of manufactured prosthesis. The aim for 2019 is to do even better!

If you had a chance to change one thing overnight in healthcare, what would that be? Where do you see the greatest need?

Paulina:I believe in comfortable and accessible healthcare services for every single person. The healthcare system still has a large quality deficit. I want to bring together all available resources to provide specialized treatment to people with a lower limb amputation, being able to create an all-encompassing rehabilitation plan for individuals. In Mexico only 1 out of 10 amputees have access to a prosthetic. I want to make it possible for every single person with a lower limb amputation to have the chance to take their first step and hopefully walk again.

This year`s summit OYW overarching theme is “diversity” – what does it mean for you in your context?

Paulina: Sharing and spreading love, having the courage to make and support positive change. Getting to know others from different cultures, religions, race, gender etc. Not only people who live in faraway countries but also connecting with people living in our own neighborhoods. Social tolerance means not just accepting others but empathizing with them.

This year’s J&J OYW Program theme is “Resiliency For Change” how do you interpret this?

Paulina: Change is constant in life. How we respond to change, can make all the difference to how resilient we are to it. Not giving up, accepting, learning and keeping your passion is critical to maintaining resilience. Change is going to happen over and over again, sometimes it may be good, sometimes not so good, but if we are resilient, we can transform ourselves and make positive change.