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Story Publication logo February 4, 2019

MAVI: Providing Support and Resources for Puerto Ricans with Disabilities

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After Hurricane Maria, the Movement for the Reach of Independent Living program (MAVI), a well-known organization in Puerto Rico, provided the disabled community with donated necessities. Image by Alexis Smith. United States, 2018.
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On September 20, 2017, Puerto Rico was tragically hit by Hurricane Maria with 150 mile per hour...

Inside MAVI's lobby. Image by Milly de la Torre. Puerto Rico, 2019.
Inside MAVI's lobby. Image by Milly de la Torre. Puerto Rico, 2019.

When Hurricane Maria tore through Puerto Rico in the fall of 2017, the storm exposed a scarcity of support services for the island's disabled. In response to the disaster, and in light of the government's inability to provide adequate post-hurricane aid for those with disabilities, the Movement for the Reach of Independent Living (MAVI) rushed to fill the gaps. MAVI is a non-profit dedicated to providing resources and representation for the disabled.

During and after Hurricane Maria, MAVI resource developer Mildred "Milly" de la Torre and other members of the staff visited clients' residences to assess their needs and distribute aid items—outreach efforts that were so important given that many clients were physically unable to travel to Federal Emergency Management (FEMA) distribution centers.

Today, MAVI is advocating for the inclusion of the disabled community in future disaster evacuation plans, creating their own distribution centers, and developing a resource manual for people with disabilities to help them best prepare for future natural disasters and other catastrophic events.

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