Lilia Ana Cisneros Luján
This profile was prepared when Lilia Ana Cisneros Luján was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 1993.
The New Idea
Mexico is a young country, with half of its population under the age of eighteen. Lilia Cisneros is contributing to its children's need for safety and for assistance to recover from one of the most common childhood injuriesburns. Most Mexican children who are burned accidentally are between the ages of one and four; untreated scar tissue can inhibit the growth and muscle development of young bodies and leave a child disabled for life. Plastic and reconstructive therapies are beyond the means of most families, so a burned child is at risk for lasting consequences that are often medically treatable, though expensive.Lilia is behind the first nationwide nongovernmental education campaign in schools and companies to stimulate prevention of burn injuries. For children who have been burned, she has created an integrated burn care center where 1,500 children from all over the country receive not only emergency medical treatment, but also reconstructive surgery, psychological treatment and rehabilitation therapy. It is distinguished from the first aid services that are available to most poor children by its full range of modern care, and from the private hospital resources accessible to affluent burned children because it is free. Lilia has managed to overcome the cost obstacle by forming a largely volunteer staff; she also secures funding from a government niche reserved for civil projects, which fits her conviction that society should provide all its children with the technical care they need to grow up as whole as possible.