Physical Therapists first traveled to Guatemala with Hearts in Motion in 2002. At that time, the therapy clinic consisted of a slotted park bench within the public health department. Braces were made by recycling parts of old braces, softening the plastic by hot water heated over an open fire.
Thanks to Hearts in Motion, residents of Zacapa, Guatemala and the surrounding communities are now able to receive therapy services in a fully equipped, free standing rehabilitation center. The Kevin O’Halloran Rehabilitation Center opened in 2004. Services are provided by a full time Guatemalan Physical Therapist, Esvin Monzon, at no charge. In 2011, over 210 people received therapy at this facility.
Partnering with Range of Motion Project
In 2005, Hearts In Motion joined forces with newly established Range of Motion Project (ROMP). This is a group of talented young orthotists who were looking to create an orthotics/prosthetics laboratory. For 20 years, HIM has brought amputees to the United States for prosthetics. By joining forces with ROMP, we are able to help give the gift of mobility to many who would never have been able to afford a leg or an arm. Those fitted with prosthetics are also able to receive their much needed physical therapy through the HIM therapy program. It is a win-win for all of those involved.
Expanded outreach in the field of rehabilitation
Hearts in Motion has continued to expand its outreach in the field of rehabilitation. Physical Therapists and Physical Therapy students from the United States travel to Guatemala to work side by side with Guatemalan therapists and teachers, not only at the O’Halloran Rehabilitation Center, but also in area schools, senior citizen centers, a developmental disabilities center, home visits and medical clinics in area villages. Inservices are provided to Guatemalan Physical Therapists and Physical Therapy students from the Rafael Landivar University in Zacapa, Guatemala. Over 1100 treatments were delivered by American therapists and students in 2011.