Rescue a Malnourished Child in Guatemala

by The GOD'S CHILD Project
Play Video
Rescue a Malnourished Child in Guatemala
Rescue a Malnourished Child in Guatemala
Rescue a Malnourished Child in Guatemala
Rescue a Malnourished Child in Guatemala
Rescue a Malnourished Child in Guatemala
Rescue a Malnourished Child in Guatemala
Rescue a Malnourished Child in Guatemala
Rescue a Malnourished Child in Guatemala
Rescue a Malnourished Child in Guatemala
Rescue a Malnourished Child in Guatemala
Rescue a Malnourished Child in Guatemala
Rescue a Malnourished Child in Guatemala
Rescue a Malnourished Child in Guatemala
Rescue a Malnourished Child in Guatemala
Rescue a Malnourished Child in Guatemala
Rescue a Malnourished Child in Guatemala
Rescue a Malnourished Child in Guatemala
Rescue a Malnourished Child in Guatemala
Rescue a Malnourished Child in Guatemala
Rescue a Malnourished Child in Guatemala
Rescue a Malnourished Child in Guatemala
Rescue a Malnourished Child in Guatemala
Rescue a Malnourished Child in Guatemala
Rescue a Malnourished Child in Guatemala
Rescue a Malnourished Child in Guatemala
Rescue a Malnourished Child in Guatemala
Rescue a Malnourished Child in Guatemala
Rescue a Malnourished Child in Guatemala
Rescue a Malnourished Child in Guatemala
Rescue a Malnourished Child in Guatemala
Rescue a Malnourished Child in Guatemala
Rescue a Malnourished Child in Guatemala
Rescue a Malnourished Child in Guatemala
Rescue a Malnourished Child in Guatemala
Rescue a Malnourished Child in Guatemala
Rescue a Malnourished Child in Guatemala
Rescue a Malnourished Child in Guatemala

If you have visited Casa Jackson in the past year and a half or have interacted with our social media page, then you will have met our longest-serving patient in Casa Jackson, Angel.

Angel arrived at Casa Jackson in February 2020 after being referred by the PGN (Guatemalan Social Services). His mother had abandoned him as he was too much of a burden for her to look after. Angel was aged around 6 and was unable to walk or talk. Since then Angel has spent over 500 days in Casa Jackson and the progress he has made has been astounding.

When he arrived, the prognosis for Angel was not good. It was doubtful that he would ever be able to walk or talk. He was also unable to focus his eyes. However, after sessions with our staff and volunteers Angel is now not only able to walk completely independently but can also say a number of key phrases to let staff know of his needs. He is also able to communicate non-verbally through actions and symbols to get his point across. Angel eats and dresses himself independently as well.

On top of that Angel has also gained a significant amount of weight since arriving at Casa Jackson. At the most recent weigh-in Angel had gained 16 lbs. 3 oz. or 66% of his initial weight.

So why is Angel still at Casa Jackson? He is actually no longer malnourished and has not been since around April 2020 but has not been able to leave. This is because due to COVID-19 Angel seems to have fallen through the cracks of the Guatemalan Social Services. He was required to go to a children’s home but that home needs to be able to match his needs and provide him with further speech and physical therapy and, as of yet, that has not been possible.

This story may well have a happy ending, however. Angel has an upcoming hearing to attend with the goal of finding him an adoptive family to live with. It seems that there is already a family lined up to take Angel and we just have to wait and see if they are suitable. It is no less than Angel deserves, as he is a wonderful child who brightens up everyone in Casa Jackson’s days.

When the time comes for Angel to join his new family it will be hard to adjust. Many staff members and volunteers alike have become extremely fond of Angel and how he is part of the furniture at Casa Jackson. It will definitely be strange to walk into Casa Jackson and not hear Angel’s voice shouting ‘hola’ to you, pointing to the nurses to show who has arrived. Nevertheless, everything we do at Casa Jackson is for the benefit of our patients and the time has come for Angel to start a new life with a loving family. We can’t wait for Angel to finally get what he has always deserved.

Share on Twitter Share on Facebook

Damarys is 11 years old and lives in Antigua Guatemala with her mother, brother, grandparents and uncle.

Her house is made of cement blocks and sheet metal with a cement floor. The rent is Q700 ($93) a month and is paid by Damarys’s grandfather. Damarys’s parents separated around a year and a half ago. Currently, her father has very little communication with her and her brother and is not helping the family financially.

 

Damarys’s mother has two jobs. She works as a house cleaner and in a shop. She receives Q1100 ($146) a month and uses this to buy food for the family and to pay for Damarys’s medicine.

 

Damarys began to lose weight around a year ago because she was only eating sweets and drinking fizzy drinks. In November 2020 she was taken to Antigua National Hospital and was found to have serious problems with her lungs, kidneys, and liver, as well as being severely malnourished. The doctor indicated that he needed to do a number of further examinations and organised them for the end of November. Damarys’s mother did not take her to them, however, having heard of a large number of COVID cases in the hospital and cancelling out of fear.

 

Some members of a church wanted to help Damarys and paid for her to have an examination at a private clinic and the family was told that there would be no major future complications if Damarys began to have a healthy diet and took some vitamin supplements. The doctor advised that the family should take Damarys to the Roosevelt Hospital in Guatemala City for further checkups but Damarys’s mother did not have the money to pay for transport.

 

In February 2021 Damarys’s mother approached La Asociación Nuestros Ahijados to ask us to help her daughter. She visited our clinics and was referred to Casa Jackson by our doctor John Dwyer. At the time her weight was 48 lbs (21.8 kg) and her height was 132 cm.

 

Damarys is currently being treated at Casa Jackson and is also having a number of examinations to check on her organs. She has a special diet and supplements to help her weight gain. Damarys’s mother is very grateful to Casa Jackson for giving her hope that her daughter can recuperate and have a chance at a normal life. She will also be able to continue her studies and reach her goals. In the month that Damarys has been in Casa Jackson with us she has gained 2 lbs (0.9 kg) and is feeling much better. We are looking forward to seeing her continue to grow and improve both physically and mentally in the future.

Share on Twitter Share on Facebook

Most Casa Jackson patients stay for around 2 months while they recover from life-threatening malnutrition. Once in a while, however, a patient stays with us for a much longer period. This year, for almost 8 months, we looked after beautiful Berlyn.

Berlyn arrived at Casa Jackson after she was abandoned by her parents. There is an age difference of 38 years between Berlyn’s mother and father. Berlyn’s mother is known to suffer from epilepsy.

In February 2020 she was taken to the Hospital in Malacatán, San Marcos with pneumonia by her father. While Berlyn was in hospital her mother did not visit her. After she had recovered from pneumonia, Berlyn’s father was informed that he could take her home from the hospital. He told the nurses that he needed to go and get something first and then left and never returned. At the beginning of March 2020 Berlyn was brought to Casa Jackson by Guatemalan Social Services weighing just 11 lbs 3 oz. (5.07 kg) and severely malnourished.

At first, Berlyn was quiet and reserved at Casa Jackson. The hair on the back of her head did not grow as a result of lying on her back all day and it took time for her to try and move or roll over. She also took some time to get to know the nurses, staff, volunteers and other babies. After a few weeks, however, Berlyn began to come out of her shell and show off her personality. She particularly loved to listen to music and began to show off her own dance moves, waving her arms and shaking her hips. Berlyn’s lively personality and dance moves quickly made her a staff favorite.

Berlyn also learned many new things at Casa Jackson. She began to say one or two words and started to walk with support from an adult or in the stroller. With her hair growing back she learnt to use a comb and she picked up some new dance moves from some of the mothers in Casa Jackson. She began to be more independent and would explore Casa Jackson herself. She would play with her friends and could often be heard laughing and giggling.

During her time in Casa Jackson, Berlyn gained 10 lbs. 11 oz. (4.85 kg) which was 96% of her initial body weight. She stayed at Casa Jackson for such a long time as her future living situation had to be organised before she could leave. As she had been abandoned, Berlyn had nowhere to go once she had recovered, and so she stayed at Casa Jackson until somewhere for her to live had been found.

After staying at Casa Jackson for almost 8 months Berlyn was finally found a home with a relative who agreed to look after her. She had had a wonderful time at Casa Jackson and had made incredible improvements but it was time for her to go home. She made the long journey back to San Marcos to start her new life with her new family.

Links:

Share on Twitter Share on Facebook

This report is slightly different to ones we have done previously; however, it shows the important work we do to continue to provide for our Casa Jackson babies, even after they have left the four walls of Casa Jackson.

 

Pictured is little Heidy, a child whose family we have been supporting for a number of years now. We first came to know them when they arrived at our Santa Madre Homeless Shelter in late 2018, having spent time living in the streets. Then, when Heidy and her sister Eva spent 5 months in Casa Jackson between February 2019 and July 2019 recovering from malnutrition. Now, almost a year after they left, we are still providing them with life-changing support.

 

We wanted to make sure that we could continue to support Heidy and her family after they left Casa Jackson as she and her sister had spent so much time with us. This year we enrolled Heidy and her older siblings, Omar, Damaris, and Cristian into our schools. Omar is studying in the Scheel Center School, Damaris is in the Hermano Pedro Special School, and Cristian and Heidy are at The Dreamer Center School. The children's mother, Doña Eva, has continued to be a member of the Club de Madres (Mothers' Club) which she became a part of while staying at Casa Jackson and now regularly receives vegetables and clothes. She also received a 45lbs. 'Amor en Caja' box of food supplies during the current pandemic.

 

Heidy’s family has had a place to stay for the past 6 months, but they certainly haven't had a home. Where they were living could hardly even be called a house. It was on the front porch of another house with two sheet metal walls and two blanket 'walls'. The family was exposed to the elements and at serious risk of illness.

 

During the COVID pandemic we received a donation big enough to allow us to build one of our ‘Casa Azul’ houses for a family, and we chose Heidy’s family because they had the greatest need. Right away, we began preparations to build them their very own house.

 

Our Guatemalan staff worked as a solid team to build this house in just 2 days while the family's children helped to paint the house. It was hard work but completely worthwhile as together we worked to change this family's life for the better.

 

We always want to stay in touch with the children who have stayed at Casa Jackson and their families to ensure that they don’t become malnourished again, but we also want to do everything we can to fight the root causes of malnutrition as well. By building the family a house and providing a safe place for them to live we ensure that Heidy and her sister Eva have a better future and a lesser chance of falling back into malnutrition.

Links:

Share on Twitter Share on Facebook

In Guatemala the malnutrition rate of children under 5 is 49.8%. However, chronic malnutrition is not exclusive to children under the age of 5. In February 2020 Casa Jackson opened its doors to a new patient who was unlike any patient we had had before. This is Sandra’s story and we feel it is important to share it with you to show how you can help Casa Jackson change the lives of malnourished children.

 

Sandra was referred to us by the PGN (Guatemalan Social Services). She is 18 years old, though due to years of chronic malnutrition she has the frame of a much younger child. Sandra’s father passed away when she was younger and her mother suffered from alcoholism and was unable to look after her, and so a month before she arrived at Casa Jackson, she was given to a family that the mother knew to be looked after. This is not what transpired, however. The family that Sandra stayed with consisted of a mother, father and three children. Sandra was not treated like another member of the family, though. During meal times Sandra was told to leave the room and the family did not share any food with her. Sandra told us that she was not given any food for a month and that every time she asked to be given some she was beaten. She was also beaten at other times for no reason. Sandra was also not permitted to leave the house and therefore had no means to access food herself. She told us that she survived on water alone.

 

When Sandra arrived at Casa Jackson we had to adjust to be able to care for her. The first thing we needed to do was find a bed for her to sleep in as we didn’t feel that it was dignified to ask her to sleep in a crib like the other children. We reached out to another non-profit called El Amor de Patricia that runs a Bunk Bed Project to ask if they would donate a bed for Sandra to sleep in while staying at Casa Jackson. They were more than happy to oblige and delivered it the next day. This was an important part of showing Sandra that we valued her as a person by making sure she would be comfortable.

 

Sandra has spent the past month with us in Casa Jackson and in that time has gained an incredible 8 lbs. and 4 oz. She has been on a special diet to help build her strength and it has been working extremely well. Sandra told us that when she was staying with the previous family she would dream about eating frijoles and chicken and so we make efforts to incorporate that in her diet.

 

Another important part of Sandra’s recuperation is to build her self-esteem and show her that she is valued as a person, as this was something she did not experience before coming to us. Sandra never went to school when she was younger and is unable to read or write. We organised adult learning classes three times a week to help Sandra to learn important life skills such as reading and writing. Unfortunately, due to government regulations all schools are currently closed in Guatemala, however we are helping Sandra to keep learning through workbooks until the schools open again. Sandra has told us that even after she leaves Casa Jackson she would like to continue to study so that one day she can become a teacher. We will ensure that we do everything we can to turn this dream into a reality. Furthermore we have been teaching Sandra important skills that she can use in the future. Sandra worked with some volunteers to learn how to sew. She is using her newfound sewing skills to make a bag. Finally we think it is important for Sandra’s self-esteem that she helps out the other children in Casa Jackson and so she often looks after and plays with the children during the day, as well as helping to feed them. This gives her a sense of belonging and responsibility that is helping to raise her confidence and self-worth, a crucial part of her recuperation.

 

We feel that Sandra has made amazing progress in her first month at Casa Jackson and that is because we receive donations to be able to feed, clothe, house and educate her. When we say that your donations save lives this is not hyperbole. We couldn’t make an impact in children’s and, in this case, adult’s lives without your support. You make it possible for us to save Sandra’s life.

 

Please continue to keep the children in your prayers and consider sponsoring a crib at our Casa Jackson Malnutrition Hospital.

Links:

Share on Twitter Share on Facebook
 

About Project Reports

Project Reports on GlobalGiving are posted directly to globalgiving.org by Project Leaders as they are completed, generally every 3-4 months. To protect the integrity of these documents, GlobalGiving does not alter them; therefore you may find some language or formatting issues.

If you donate to this project or have donated to this project, you will get an e-mail when this project posts a report. You can also subscribe for reports via e-mail without donating.

Get Reports via Email

We'll only email you new reports and updates about this project.

Organization Information

The GOD'S CHILD Project

Location: Bismarck, ND - USA
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Project Leader:
Brendan Dwyer
Antigua, Sacatepequez Guatemala
$144,037 raised of $150,000 goal
 
2,909 donations
$5,963 to go
Donate Now
lock
Donating through GlobalGiving is safe, secure, and easy with many payment options to choose from. View other ways to donate

The GOD'S CHILD Project has earned this recognition on GlobalGiving:

Help raise money!

Support this important cause by creating a personalized fundraising page.

Start a Fundraiser

Learn more about GlobalGiving

Teenage Science Students
Vetting +
Due Diligence

Snorkeler
Our
Impact

Woman Holding a Gift Card
Give
Gift Cards

Young Girl with a Bicycle
GlobalGiving
Guarantee

Sign up for the GlobalGiving Newsletter

WARNING: Javascript is currently disabled or is not available in your browser. GlobalGiving makes extensive use of Javascript and will not function properly with Javascript disabled. Please enable Javascript and refresh this page.