Many of the children with disabilities who are helped at the St. Vincent de Paul Temporary Home in Lima, Peru come from families touched by unemployment and poverty. These factors, combined with their physical disabilities, can result in nutritional deficiencies, low self-esteem, and poor quality of life.
Assisting these children and their families, especially those from rural areas, the Daughters of Charity enable medical care, treatment and physical therapies that can make all the difference in the lives of these youngsters.
One success story that the sisters shared is about a little six-year-old boy who came to them with a crippling club foot. Jackson is a twin and one of eight children in his family. They live in the Department of Cajamarca in northern Peru. Here everyone walks everywhere, since there is no public transportation in their village. The boy’s father works in agriculture to provide for all household expenses, and his mother is a full-time homemaker.
When Jackson first came to the Daughters of Charity St. Vincent Home with a club foot on his left leg, he was scared and resistant. He received nutritional support, medical care and evaluation at the Clinic San Juan Dios. The medical team put him in a plaster cast for 16 weeks. Being a clever and typical rambunctious young child, his cast was repeatedly broken, and had to be reset in acrylic. At the doctor’s recommendation, Jackson received physical therapy and hydrotherapy at St. Vincent’s. Jackson is also a very smart little boy and was able to take advantage of going to school at the initial level, while in treatment.
Today, as the picture shows, his physical abilities and his life have greatly improved.
The sisters at St. Vincent Home receive children with diverse physical disabilities, such as right horse foot, bilateral club foot, mild cerebral palsy, congenital malformations, congenital hip dislocation, hip fractures, and rickets. Some have malnutrition levels of the second and third degree that must be addressed prior to surgical interventions. Post-operative rehabilitation therapy is vital; however, it is often very expensive. But without this care, a healthy recovery might not be possible.
There are few centers, such as this one operated by the Daughters of Charity, which offer specialized care free of cost. Some of the children need a period of 2, 3 or even 4 years to rehabilitate fully. Education is addressed with accessibility to the St. Vincent de Paul Education Center. Many of these children come from very limited backgrounds and have difficulty keeping up with the performance levels of others enrolled.
St. Vincent Home serves children ages 3 to 19, with many of the children coming from the Peruvian highlands and jungle areas. The reality is that various professionals are needed to properly care for these children, including Physical Therapists, Psychologists, Nutritionists and Educators. The family is included in education by the professionals to learn proper care and development for their children.
The sisters, together with these experts and their families, offer an overall environment that holistically nurtures these children in body, mind and spirit. Daughters of Charity International Project Services (www.daughtersips.org) was able to facilitate funding support for affiliated professional services, training workshops, and implementation of an educational library for the children. For more information, contact DCIPS at 248-849-4914 or Sr. Felicia Mazzola, D.C., at felicia.mazzol(at)doc.org.