More Than Survival…A Better Life!

March 9, 2018

David is a 4 years old, and when he is at the Compassion center, he enjoys playing in the ball pit, singing, and playing the play piano. He is a happy child who receives love and care from his grandmother, Miriam. His’ grandmother has worked for many years cleaning homes, in order to provide for her family. She is 65 years old and has some health problems; however, she is a brave mother and grandmother who has not given up despite her family’s difficulties.   Miriam had three children. Her daughter, Indira, suffered from a high fever that caused her to have neurological problems. Indira is now 34 years old and has an intellectual disability that has affected the way she relates with people and schizophrenia, which causes her not to speak with others and suffers from emotional crisis which she takes medication for.

Four years ago, Indira was constantly suffering from a stomachache. The way Indira would cope was to hit her stomach with her fist. Miriam was worried about her daughter and decided to take her to visit the doctor. Miriam was informed that the cause for Indira’s stomachache was, because she  was eight months pregnant.

Miriam remembered, “I fainted when they gave me that news. I looked after her like the apple of my eye, and there was not an explanation for her pregnancy. She was overweight, so I did not notice it before. I was pretty confused and decided that when the baby was born I was going to give him up for adoption.”

Miriam loves God and attends Foursquare Church in Santa Marta. After she found out about Indira’s pregnancy, Miriam was sad and confused and looked for advice at her church. The pastor and leaders encouraged her to trust God; and one month later, David was born. a

Miriam shared, “When I saw David, everything changed. I thought, He is my son, and I decided to take care of him. I asked for and received custody of David. He is the light of my life.”

When David was 2 months old, he was registered in the Compassion Child Survival Program in project CO0571. As his caregiver, Miriam attended the project with him for the stimulation classes and group sessions. When David was a month old, Yubeth Ortega (a tutor for the program) noticed that David’s development was not where it should have been for his’ age. David did not look at people or smile. The Compassion project set up an appointment with a pediatrician.  After several medical exams,  doctors diagnosed David with cerebral palsy. The possible cause was the medication that Indira took during her pregnancy.  Miriam refused to believe it and would cry during the survival tutors’ visits at her home, when they would see that David was not developing like other children.

Yubeth remembered, “Miriam was so sad because of David`s condition. I remember encouraging her and letting her know that she was not alone, that she had the project’s support.”

During the years that David has been part of Compassion’s program, he has received help to improve his development. The project helped Miriam get in touch with a foundation that treats children with cerebral palsy where David is receiving treatment. Meanwhile, David is progressing. During the home visits and project activities, David receives stimulation, love and care. Yubeth, who had not worked with any child with cerebral palsy before, now reads and researches to learn more about the condition and how to work to improve David’s development.

Yubeth shared, “I learned how to help children with cerebral palsy learn to walk. As they try to stand up on their toes, we should put some counterweight on their back, which helps them put their feet on the floor. I did this with David and he walked at 18 months. I have also learned what kind of sounds he likes and what songs to sing. Another thing I helped him do is clap. Slowly he has learned to clap while I sing songs for him. Davis has also learned how to go up stairs, get into bed and sit down.”

It has not been easy for Miriam to raise David. She does not earn enough money to provide for her family. Through the Highly Vulnerable Children Fund, David is receiving monthly help for food. The family also received help to buy a new bed for David and Indira and some other basic elements to improve their quality of life.  Miriam has also learned how to properly take care of David and to give him the love that his mothers is not able to give him.

Miriam shared, “I feel really grateful. The project is a great help for us. When I do not have money to take David to the therapies, they bring me the help I need. Tutor Yubeth asks me what I need for David. She has taught me to massage David’s feet, legs and arms and give him love.

Yubeth adds, “We have taught Miriam the importance of having an emotional bond with David. We taught her to sing to him and read him a book, to have a relationship with him. She knows that it is important to talk to him and guide him. Their emotional bond has been strengthened.  We have also learned through this process. Thanks to David, I am more aware about the love and care that we provide to children with cerebral palsy. I am happy about working with David. I love him, and I feel that he loves me. David’s sponsor also has cerebral palsy, and in her letters she encourages David and Miriam and says that she prays for them.”

Miriam and the project staff want to see David developing more each day. Although it takes effort and hard work, they are all willing to help him have a good quality of life. Not only is David surviving, but he is happy!

Miriam shared, “I want David to learn many things. I want him to be able to take care of himself when I die. He does not have a mother who can take care of him, but I know that he will develop better each day and will be a good person for society. If I had received for Indira the same help that I receive now for David, she could be a different person, with other opportunities. I feel the project’s support, and I have been greatly blessed by God through it.”

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