Jorge Pérez de Leza is capable of much more than just overcoming an adversity. This Spanish engineer studied Industrial Engineering at Universidad Pontificia de Comillas in Madrid before graduating from Harvard University with an MBA. In 1993, however, he was involved in a serious accident that paralized him from the chest down an thus began a new life on a wheelchair.
As he put it “When you are handicapped, you must not think about what you cannot do but think about how you can do things differently“. Hence his actual position as founder of Fundación Deporte y Desafío. After leaving the hospital, Jorge found a mind-clearing hobby in running and now he participates in marathons and races on his handbike (a hand propelled bicycle).
But he did not stop there and, in 1996, he created the above mention foundation with a friend. The aim of this organisation is to promote sport amongst disabled people, to help them stay healthy and passionate about something they love.
The foundation offers a wide range of innovative adapted sport activities for any person with any kind of disability. In their headquarters, they provide participants with their own adapted material and they have different organisations collaborating with them for those sports that require a more specific material. Each and every Sport Program is supervised by coordinators from the foundations and taught by teachers not only specialised in every discipline but also trained in adapted sport. Besides, volunteering is key for the development of these activities and volunteers are always there for every activity.
— Fundación DyD (@FundDyD) September 24, 2013
The main goal of the foundation is the social integration of disabled people through sports, which is why besides being encourage to do adapted sports, handicapped people are advised to participate in the activities alone, without the company of a relative, so that they feel compelled to mingle and socialize with peers in order to create a friendship bond with new people that will strengthen both their self-esteem and social skills.
Jorge Pérez de Leza is currently the CEO of Metrovacesa, and the foundation is volunteering work he does outside his job. The challenge for him is double since he has developed his professional career in managerial positions while volunteering by helping setting up and making the foundation grow.
He is a great inspiration as to what can we all do individually with our work. As engineers, our community has the ability and knowledge to create innovations that change and improve people’s lives. And from ennomotive we encourage you to do so.