28 oct. 2009

Keeping a Family Together

The Nicaraguan Ministry of the Family (MiFamilia) has stated that a child is better off with a loving family than in institutional care, no matter how poor the family. We agree. In collaboration with MiFamilia, our team works as hard as we can to maintain this family structure by offering social services if it is within our capabilities. We have recently had the opportunity to organize a community in order to help a child remain with her family despite their tremendous lack of resources. Here is her story:

Our Social Worker received an urgent phone call from Don Augustin, the local representative from MiFamilia, asking her to use her contacts to place a three year old girl into a residential facility. “The whole family is starving to death,” he said. Our team went to meet the family and found an elderly couple, their daughter and the three year old grandchild living in a tiny shack. They were as he said: starving. The grandfather, with occasional help from his wife, had been supporting the family by collecting and selling firewood. He was now too sick to work. The daughter was disabled; she appeared to have poor coordination and could barely walk on her own. And because of this situation, the granddaughter was without the necessary food to develop appropriately.

Before sending this child off to an orphanage, we decided we should see what could be done to, literally, get the family back onto their feet. First, Don Augustin went to the farmers who live nearby. He knew a neighbor who agreed to drive the grandfather to the hospital. MiFamilia was able to give them a sack of soybeans to make soymilk. Another neighbor offered to bring them a hot lunch each day and teach the grandmother to make her own soymilk. Still a third family that we know is bringing them a bag of vegetables twice a week from their stand in the market.

We were also able to get the daughter to the Neurologist at the hospital in Juigalpa, although this took a little doing. The Doctor is there only once a week to see children in the handicapped program, but she agreed to see this young woman for free and on her own time. The Alcaldia (municipal government) provided a ride.

The young woman was diagnosed with a cerebral lesion, malnutrition and depression. She was given medication and prescribed hydroterapia, exercises done in water, and equinoterapia, horseback riding. There isn’t a swimming pool in Camoapa, but with good Nicaraguan ingenuity, one more neighbor volunteered the use of his pila, a large concrete tank used to store rainwater for his livestock. And yet another offered to come with a gentle horse for her riding lessons. One of our educators, Omar, is trained in physical therapy and is helping her with her exercises.

It is rare that we get to see such immediate results for our efforts. But in this case we were able to bring a neighborhood together, not just to help a malnourished family but also to save a child from the trauma of institutionalization.

6 oct. 2009

Donate to Nicaragua

Once or twice a year The Sunrise Foundation organizes a large shipment of donated items that leaves (by large truck) from a sister project in Buffalo, New York and arrives in Teustepe, Nicaragua a town about an hour outside of Camoapa, where our center is located. (See our recent Donations post from July.)

The time is here again! We are collecting items that will be shipped at the end of the year.

Our project works to help elementary aged children be successful in school. These children probably wouldn’t be completing elementary school, or even attending any school at all, without our program. Being involved with these children and their families and furthermore, being a significant organization within the community, has also led us to want to help other local efforts.

We will be taking our shipment from Northampton, MA to Buffalo, NY toward the end of October. Maybe you have some of these things you would like to send to a good home. Or maybe you know someone who does. Here is a list of some of the most needed items:
  • Baby clothes (ages 0 to 3 months)
  • Baby blankets for the mothers at the local branch of Casa Materna

  • Boys’ clothes sizes 6-14
  • Towels, sheets and blankets (for beds of any size)
  • Children’s’ backpacks
  • All types of school supplies (excluding books written in English)
  • Wheelchairs, walkers, physical therapy and occupational therapy equipment for children. We are working with a local branch of Los Pipitos, a national organization that helps children with disabilities
  • Girls’ softball equipment: balls, gloves, bats, catcher’s masks, helmets, etc.
  • Boxing equipment: gloves, punching bags (speed and heavy), hand wraps, etc.
  • Computers (no more than 5 years old)
If you have any of these items and would like to contribute, please email or call Lisa Hall at lisahallg@gmail.com / (413)268-9271. Please note: we have no way of collecting items from anywhere other than Western Massachusetts. If you live somewhere else and have something you would like to donate, the only way we can accept it is if you are willing to pay the shipping cost.

Thank you on behalf of Hogar Luceros del Amanecer and the children and families of Nicaragua.