In the past three months, 116 children born with cleft lip and palate who would most likely die without intervention have been enrolled in Partner for Surgery's Infant Nutrition program. Their families hear from others in their local villages about how we have helped others, and the infants are brought to us by hopeful parents. Thanks to the generosity of our supporters, we have been able to help them all. Our goal is to be there to help every one of them - to never lose another precious child because they were unable to nurse.
During the same three months, 34 children who have "graduated" from our Infant Nutrition program have received surgery from one of our volunteer surgical teams - and the results speak for themselves! Thanks to our supporters and volunteers, these children have a new lease on life, and some pretty fetching smiles!
The following is a postcard from Lydia Sorensen, GlobalGiving's In-the-Field Representative in Guatemala, about her recent visit to Partners for Surgery.
While no parent ever wants their child to have a birth defect, here in Guatemala what is easily remediable in the United States is potentially deadly. Most children born here in rural communities are delivered by midwives (some of whom have little training) far from hospitals. For the hundreds of children born with cleft lip and palate this means that they are at a much higher risk. Often born to families who have no understanding of the condition, they are unable to breastfeed and sometimes starve to death. By working with the local government and community leaders, Partner for Surgery is working every day to change the fate of those children by providing much needed education, nutrition, and surgery.
One lucky beneficiary is Johana. Born in the rural aldea of Chupol, Johana is the only one in her family to have cleft lip and palate. When she was recommended to Partner for Surgery by their local health clinic, her mother Rosa was incredibly relieved. She knew that she needed assistance, but had had no idea where to look for it; at two months Johana weighed only six pounds and was severely malnourished. Today Juan Gabriel, one of Partner for Surgery’s community health promoters, looks in on Johana every few weeks to check on her progress and provide her mother with formula.
Johana has doubled in weight over the last four months, and her mother Rosa is proud to show off all the empty cans of formula that she has been able to feed her. The next step is almost here: Johana is scheduled for her first surgery in May. In a few years hopefully Johana won’t need any assistance from Partner for Surgery, and will be able to eat the same as her cousins. In the meantime, her grandmother cannot express how grateful she is for the assistance. “Thank you” she repeats again and again as we leave, “thank you”.
We have more children wating to hear from you. Yes, once again we're asking for your help because with your valuable donation to -PFS- Partner For Surgery /-ACPC- Asociación Compañero Para Cirugía in Guatemala, kids with clef lip and palate are getting the surgery that will save and change their life. Only with you, we're able to reach to this families and let them know that their kids can and will grow up and fulfil their dreams. Please feel free to contact us on Facebook, on Twitter @pfsguatemala or Instagram to get an update and learn more about where we are and what is your donation doing for this kids right now.
Deepest thanks from the PFS/ACPC family in Guatemala