At 22, I finally have an identity!
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Letter to Friends around the World # 82

In a society where all data, information and agreements are validated by recording them on paper, an identity card is the primary official document that allows a person to be recognised and able to exercise their rights.

When someone suffers from a severe physical disability, lives on top of a hill that has no steps, and also comes from a very low income family, years can pass by before they can get their identity card. This was the case for Anita.

A long road was travelled before Anita received her card at the age of 21. Numerous people were willing to help, along with institutions like the first aid station and the Trauma Hospital. The process took place in two stages, the first of which was obtaining a disability card from the National Council for the Integration of People with Disabilities (CONADIS).

Multiple medical examinations were necessary in order to precisely define the degree and cause of the disability which was evident at first sight. It took numerous hospitals, as well as time and money which many people invested into Anita's case.

Climbing and descending the hill on someone's shoulders was difficult and dangerous. And often she had to wait for hours before someone could come to take her back home.

It took constant phone calls and never-ending visits over several months to make any progress. However, on the way, other successes came about:

a) The donation of a wheelchair which not only helped make Anita's trips easier but also alleviated her loneliness.

b) The disability card.

Once the first step had been completed, the second one was to obtain the identity card. This was not as difficult but took a lot longer to achieve. The involvement of Anita and her family during this stage was important.

Anita’s joy at holding her identity card in her hand was immense, as was our satisfaction. It was an indescribable feeling.

This was an important step in her life even though there is still much to be done. Some questions still remain. How is someone living in poverty, without support, able to take this step which is fundamental for everyone? Does everyone have the same access to information and receive the same attention, or does it depend on who you talk to?

MAITE C., PERU