Teletón For Disabled Kids

A good chance to help

BY JORGE RUIZ-ESPARZA

 

Walking down the streets of La Paz, it’s almost inevitable to eventually come across people sporting yellow shirts with a bold purple Teletón logo. They carry bright yellow plastic cases and ask for donations. This is nothing too out of the ordinary and yet their bright yellow presence stands out from other charitable organizations.  They’ve been doing this every year since 1997.

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Teletón is a private charity legally recognized by the Mexican government, but gets no government aid. It’s managed by the mass media giant Grupo Televisa. Yes, the TV network people. Their focus is the construction and maintenance of centers for children with any sort of handicap. It’s a little controversial because Televisa takes the tax deduction for donations they take in during their telethons, as do third party companies which are invited to serve as official sponsors and to take in donations. Among these sponsors are Citibanamex, Telcel, Soriana, Aeromexico, Toyota, Microsoft, and DHL.

But you aren’t going to take the tax deduction, so what difference does it make? Give. Besides, these companies receive no remuneration for their collecting services. The Tax Administration Service, or SAT in Spanish, is responsible for enforcing the tax laws, and they have given it their blessing. However, in 2014 the United Nations released a public statement expressing their uncertainty in the ethical use of private institutions to carry out public health initiatives thought to be the federal government’s moral responsibility. Please. Mexico’s government showing moral responsibility? That’s never going to happen. Give to this charity.

Teletón has successfully built and runs 22 inpatient facilities called by its Spanish acronym CRIT. They are spread all over the country, one of which can be found in La Paz. There is none in San Jose or Cabo. Around 105,000 children with disabilities have been helped over the years. Think of it as sort of Mexico’s March Of Dimes with a Jerry Lewis twist.

Teleton got its name from the marathon television show it runs once a year asking for money. The show usually has guest celebrities, you know, the usual Jerry Lewis thing but without Jerry Lewis. Who actually might be dead and for sure is not involved with this telethon.

In recent years the use of social media has been helpful in raising money too, and of course, there are those volunteers in the yellow shirts. Next time you spot a Teletón solicitor, give some change for disabled children. Or go to their website at Teleton.org and learn more about them. You can donate there, you can see their financial statements, learn a little about some of the thousands of children they have helped, and you can even set up a periodic deduction from your credit card or your Paypal account.