How a grandmother’s creativity and assistance from Project Pixan led to an accessible bath for Mili

A story about a grandmother’s fierce advocacy and creativity for her grandchildren and how Project Pixan was able to assist in providing her granddaughter with an adapted bathroom.

Town plaza in Merida, Mexico. The plaza has a circular dome made of stone with a tall totem pole also made of stone at the entrance. A wide staircase leads to the totem pole, where a Mexican flag hangs at the top.

A story about a grandmother’s fierce advocacy and creativity for her grandchildren and how Project Pixan was able to assist in providing her granddaughter with an adapted bathroom.

Milagros, or Mili as her family calls her, is a 5-year old girl living in Tecoh, a small semi-rural town 38 kilometers away from Merida, the capital of the Yucatan region in Mexico. Mili has multiple disabilities, which include motor disabilities and visual impairment, so she attends a school for children with disabilities called Tecoh Multiple Attention Center, which is a part of Perkins’ Project Pixan.

A woman wearing black glasses sits on a rug with her granddaughter who wears a white shirt and pink pants.
Mili and her grandma, Yoli

Mili’s grandmother, Doña Yolanda, or Yoli, is her primary caretaker and also takes care of Mili’s little siblings and cousins. Doña Yoli is a creative problem solver and is always thinking of new materials to build or sew for Mili that will allow her to have better posture. A few years ago, she constructed  a splint-type boot for Mili’s ankle.

We become creative with the love we have for our children. We see in the moment what they really require and it turns our focus on.

Doña Yoli, Mili’s grandma

Yoli teams up with Project Pixan

Doña Yoli shared that Mili loves to talk, play with materials that have sound, and listen to music. She also really enjoys bath time, although this activity is a bit complicated for them because Mili requires support to position herself. 

Before, she placed Mili in a hammock, used the hose to wash her outside, and then set the hammock to dry. But Doña Yoli knew there had to be a better way so she reached out to Mili’s school.

CAM Tecoh is part of the Perkins Pixan Project in Mexico, so teachers and staff know the importance of being able to provide emotional support, trust, and security to parents so that they feel empowered and active participants in the learning process of their children. They accompanied Doña Yoli in the search for a solution to have a more accessible bathroom for Mili and encouraged Yoli to formally request an accessible bath from the city council. 

The city council agreed to assist in the main construction and began building an adapted bathroom by placing flooring, tiles, and a detachable shower head. The construction period sparked more ideas in Yoli’s mind.

Building a solution

Then one day, a neighbor let Doña Yoli know someone had cut down tree in their community. It was a perfect coincidence because around that time Doña Yoli had devised a plan to make a “bed” for Mili, one that would allow her to lie down securely while she bathed her. Wood was the missing piece of the puzzle, and now with access to it, Doña Yoli went to acquire the material. 

After successfully hammering the wood together, Doña Yoli completed the base of the bed.

A rugged wooden bench on a tile floor. Behind the bench is a blue hammock.

For the final touches—lining the bed with waterproof material made of rubber—she received help from 2022 Educational Leadership Program graduate and local Tecoh teacher, Angie. Angie located and brought the waterproof material to add to the wooden bed then completed the project with a pillow. 

Two young children and their grandmother stand around a wooden bench that has a white cloth covering it. An empty blue hammock
A woman is crouched over an upside down wooden bench that has a purple cover attached to it. A hammer rests on the bench.
A woman hovers over a wooden bench and straightens a purple cover over it. There is also a white towel folded in half at the top of the bench.

Now, Mili can go back to enjoying bath time! 

We are grateful for caregivers like Doña Yoli who work tirelessly to help their children have the tools they need to define their own success. By finding and using low-cost materials, her creativity opens doors so that more projects like these can be used as examples for future children with similar needs to Mili.