“We work, however, in the marginalized communities of Tacopaya and Entre Rios with children who suffer from the double challenges of disabilities and economic poverty. For these children of God, Advent can be a time of continued, not so hopeful waiting for an opportunity. We established the Maryknoll Lay Missioner Project Justicia Social—utilizing the community based rehabilitation methodology—to give them an opportunity.
Jhon Alex has a beautiful smile and a contagious laugh. At his eight years, however, he has yet to walk or talk. He has the weight of a 4-year-old. He suffers from poor nutrition due to his inability to eat solid foods. Brain damage will significantly impair his development. Doña Benita, his mother, supports a family of five on her own washing clothes for her neighbors. Her husband is an alcoholic. Doña Benita loves her son very much. She and Jhon Alex travel six hours by bus to arrive in the City of Cochabamba, get in a line of over 100 persons at 6:00 a.m., and patiently wait many hours for a walk-in-only appointment. Jhon Alex will need constant medical examinations, nutritional supplements, physical therapy and individualized attention so he can become semi-independent. We provide this.
Genoveva and Octavio are siblings who love to draw and help out with their farm chores. They greatly enjoy school. Genoveva and Octavio, however, cannot hear their teachers, nor the birds, nor the conversations of their classmates. They have severe hearing impairments. Not one teacher in their school understands sign language. We are teaching them, their mother, teachers and classmates sign language. Our dream is that they all learn sign language and we will also find the funds to have them tested to see if hearing aids would be beneficial. Their father tragically died two months ago.
We met Javier a few months ago when we heard from concerned community members that a young boy had an irregular eye—swollen so large that in their words, “it might fall out!” An examination revealed that Javier could not see anything with the “swollen” eye; yet his parents held out hope that his vision could be restored. After coordinating an examination by a pediatric eye surgeon, we discovered that he had a contagious eye disease that permanently caused blindness in the bad eye and without surgical removal would spread to his good eye. Javier and his subsistence-farming parents were skeptical. We visited his community leaders and had them explain with us in Quechua the risks of non-surgery. Our patience and persistence paid off. Javier now has a glass eye and is learning to adjust.”
You can open help us continue to open doors for children like Jhon Alex, Genoveva, Octavio and Javier. With your help, our intervention in their childhoods will produce positive results later on for them as adults.
MKLM thanks you for your continued support!