A simple gesture. Juan Pedro Gallardo collects the tapas in Campanario and demands help for people with disabilities
More and more people are aware of the benefits of recycling, especially when, in addition to having environmental purposes, it also has solidarity. This is the case of the collection of plastic caps that is carried out in Campanario through different containers. On the one hand, it can be done in the two metal hearts, located in the park, next to the bus stop, and in the neighborhood of the hermitage, in the ‘Temple’. But they can also be found in some stores, the school or municipal establishments such as the container of the Popular University. With this solidarity collection of caps, you contribute to help finance different social initiatives. Juan Pedro Gallardo knows this well, since he has been in charge of removing all those corks for some time, “and sometimes I fill several bags,” he says.
His work began when his son became part of the Epilepsy Association of Extremadura (Aedex) in 2018. Among other things, this entity is responsible for collecting earplugs from the entire region and, in the case of Campanario, it is this neighbor who takes responsibility thus contributing his “grain of sand”.
After the collection, Juan Pedro stores them in a place he owns until a van comes to take them from time to time. After recycling them, the association receives money that it uses to finance actions and therapies for associates. Since the last time they were taken, in the month of June, until now, he has accumulated more than fifty bags with stoppers.
Although any gesture of solidarity is welcome, Juan Pedro knows that what is truly effective in helping people with disabilities are social policies that understand each situation and propose measures that help them in their day-to-day lives. “I feel very angry about how little awareness there is in this country and how little help people with epilepsy or any other disability get,” he says.
In his case, his son, now 30 years old, has had this problem since he turned 14, as a result of a previous tumor that has already been overcome. “At his age, he has never been able to contribute because he has not worked, despite a medium degree in Electricity and more training in Heating Systems,” explains this father. And, although he once found a job, he had the misfortune to suffer one of the absence seizures “and they told him not to come back the next day.”
The family has just returned from Barcelona, where they have attended a revision of the second operation that they carried out a few months ago. They hope to one day find a cure for their disease and have a full life “where the absences cease, but above all the risk of falls.”
The fact of having recognized only 33% of physical disability “as a result of the tumor, not epilepsy”, is not enough, he says. A greater recognition of the degree of disability would allow them to receive some type of help or payment “but, despite the medical reports presented, they assure that it is not insufficient to increase that percentage, and what I believe is that it is an injustice.”
But his son does not lose hope or the opportunity to continue looking for a job. In fact, he is preparing for the oppositions to warden, “although we know that it is not the same to measure yourself against people with physical disabilities than intellectual ones,” says Juan Pedro.
He adds that he will continue to fight to find a cure for his son and that, while he can be recognized as having an intellectual disability, “because although he is very intelligent, he needs more response time.”
For all this, they find support in Aedex and also in Adiscam, the Campanian association that helps people with disabilities. Likewise, they thank all the neighbors who collaborate with the delivery of caps and with the purchase of Christmas lottery tickets from the regional association.
In the solidarity containers and hearts you can deposit any hard plastic lid or stopper, from everyday items such as milk cartons, juices, soft drinks, water or oil. They are also suitable for containers of shampoo, softeners, detergents, cleaning products, bath gel, creams, toothpaste and deodorants. And even the lids of lens holders, pâtés or glue sticks and the caps of pens and markers are welcome in these containers.
A simple gesture that the associations of people with disabilities appreciate, because any resource that can be converted into funding adds up. For this reason, Juan Pedro will continue to fight so that the rights of these people are recognized, while he will continue to make his struggle visible through his altruistic work.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.