We had been in Guatemala for two days when we spotted 2-year-old Jeryln sitting on a swing and staring off into space. She was completely non-responsive to voices or human touch. Perplexed we picked her up and went in search of the director to ask about her history. They told us she and her sister had arrived very malnourished and she was seeing a speech therapist.
Absentmindedly rubbing her back as we spoke, we noticed she began to swing her legs. Clearly there was something more going on, likely a form of social detachment disorder or a history of physical or sexual abuse. We immediately offered funding to get her to a neurologist for assessment and then into therapy.
Children like Jeryln often come to homes at very young ages, victims of abuse, neglect, malnourishment, or trauma. Any one of these can lead to complex problems in learning and development.
Helping children with these conditions early is critical as 90% of brain development occurs before age 5. With early intervention we can change their lives forever. That’s why we’ve developed a program for children starting in Guatemala. It will involve a combination of staff and volunteers to assess orphans in Guatemala’s 300 orphanages, utilizing a system of trusted professionals and making sure homes follow through with recommended therapies and medications.
This Project is not fully funded. Current Need: $50,000.
Rayo de Esperanza Orphanage is a family based home for children located in Rio Dulce, Guatemala. The city of Rio Dulce had been sporadically cutting off their water. It would not only leave them without water temporarily, but when the water flow was restored, their pipes would burst.
The World Orphan Fund provided a grant to install a cistern, ensuring a reliable water supply and avoiding costly ongoing repairs.
Eagles Nest Orphanage in Solola, Guatemala had an urgent need. Their 12-passenger van, used to transport their 37 children, was on its last leg and would cost more to repair than it was worth.
A reliable used replacement van would would cost $15,000. We had success in the past with offering matching grants to the home, so we offered to match up to $7,500.
Within 3 months they obtained the matching funds and were able to replace the van.
Gersi Ordonez hasn’t had much to smile about in her life. In fact, a serious injury to her face made it impossible for her to smile at all. When Gersi was very little, she was the victim of a trauma she does not remember, leaving the right side of her face paralyzed and drooping from severe nerve damage. Her nose bone was crushed badly, she is blind in her right eye and couldn’t move the right side of her mouth.
It had always been her dream to simply be able to smile, but the surgeries she needed would cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. Then doctors, nurses and anesthesiologists in Dallas agreed to perform the surgeries for free. They just needed someone to cover the cost of the hospital and supplies. For $16,500 the World Orphan Fund was able to fund Gersi’s surgeries beginning in July of 2014. Following her surgeries Gersi was able to smile for the first time since she was 12 months old.
Eagles Nest was originally planned as temporary housing for children birth to 6 years old, until they could be placed in families. After the almost complete shutdown of adoptions due to widespread corruption, they became more of a transition home with a permanent population. Children are placed at Eagles Nest through the court system.
Now that the home serves older children, a transition program was needed to help children begin the process of re-entering the outside world. So we provided matching funds to build a transition house and the first year of staff salaries. Within two months they had raised the necessary resources.