Pilar founded CARE in 1996 based on the premise that the degree of an individual’s handicap is proportional to how many resources they can access. Because many Argentines do not have access to existing technologies, CARE works to create a system that supports the development and distribution of these resources. Pilar does this by forming partnerships with the government, COs, and universities. For the CARE staff she also organized a multidisciplinary team of computer programmers, engineers, educators and health professionals.
Pilar has made sure to design a model that allows CARE to do everything in its power to use technological aids to help disabled people feel less isolated from society. CARE’s adapts existing technologies and creates new products that are tailored to users’ needs. These technologies allow people to participate in society by doing such things as playing, studying, working and communicating. CARE products include four kinds of mouse, two keyboards, and toys that have been adapted to operate using a remote control. The CARE website offers free software such as Head-dev, which is a program that allows people to move a mouse by making certain faces. Another is Talkative Web, which uses audio to read Internet Explorer out loud. Pilar is working with her team to develop virtual reality programs to simulate real life experiences that can help individuals learn. The programs can be used by parents and educators to help teach children with autism and cerebral palsy.
Pilar uses partnerships with different sectors and industries to provide ways to distribute these technologies cheaply. One example is a partnership with the Buenos Aires municipality and the Foundation for Equality, which allows CARE to provide courses that train handicapped individuals on how to use computers and their aids. In this instance the municipality provides the funds and the Foundation for Equality provides space and computers. To make sure users understand how to use their aids, the CARE team trains families and friends of users and also offers technical support by providing Spanish manuals and a phone service that users can call.
Strategic partnerships allow Pilar to execute and expand CARE’s work. She works with different sectors and industries to introduce existing technologies that act as catalysts for continued research, development and dissemination. In addition to her partnership with the Foundation for Equality and the Buenos Aires municipality, Pilar collaborates with three universities. These university partnerships allow CARE to educate students about technological aids and to engage students and professors in researching, developing and disseminating both new and existing products. This year, Pilar was able to train 600 Special Education teachers from across Argentina thanks to a partnership with the Telefonica Foundation. Pilar is now developing a strategy for CARE to partner with other CSOs that work with the disabled. This partnership will allow CARE to establish technical support groups throughout the country that can raise awareness and distribute technological aids. CARE will train the groups using materials provided on its website. Lastly, Pilar’s ongoing partnership with the Argentine Syndicate of Educators recently succeeded in establishing a post-graduate specialization in technologies for the disabled.
Pilar is spearheading a campaign to raise awareness about the advantages of new technologies among the general public. Pilar is currently working with a Senator to draft national legislation that could make technologies for the disabled available through health insurance companies. Last year, Pilar also began working with the elderly, because their technological needs are similar to the needs of disabled people. As CARE’s work becomes better known, Pilar is becoming recognized as an expert on the disabled population and technologies that serve them. She is currently a member of two international organizations that focus on new technologies for the disabled. Pilar also sponsored the creation of the Argentina branch of The Network for the Disabled and is now a member of its Board of Directors.