The GOD'S CHILD Project, Bismarck, United Stateshttp://www.godschild.org
The GOD'S CHILD Project, Bismarck, United Stateshttp://www.godschild.org
45% of Guatemalan children ages 0-5 suffer from chronic malnutrition. The Casa Jackson Home for Malnourished Infants provides in-house and out-patient care to 100s of infants and children each year.
Guatemala has the third highest rate of childhood malnutrition in the world. According to UNICEF, half of Guatemalan children under 5 are chronically malnourished. In some indigenous communities, this rate reaches 80%. Widespread poverty and lack of access to healthcare, clean water, sanitation, and education compound this problem. Childhood malnutrition is linked to stunted growth and lower IQ, and chronic malnutrition is the biggest contributor to deaths of children under 5 in Guatemala.
Casa Jackson provides in-house care to children suffering from acute-severe malnutrition and out-patient care to children who are more mildy, yet chronically, malnourished. We work with families to fix the issues that resulted in a child's diagnosis, including educating parents on proper nutrition and identifying underlying health issues complicating a child's recovery. We send recovered children home with fresh water filters, medicine, and food, and check in on their continued recovery often.
Casa Jackson protects the most vulnerable victims of poverty: infants and young children. By treating hundreds of patients and empowering communities, Casa Jackson saves lives and prevents the harmful long-term effects of malnutrition.
Amarilis is the daughter of Efrain Miguel and Maria Miguel Francisco, who live in Comunidad San Vicente Guanagazapa in the state of Escuintla, Guatemala. Amarilis is the youngest of four and has 3 older brothers; Francisco Antonio Miguel who is 12 years old, Moises Estuardo Antonio Miguel who is 8 years old and Diego Miguel Francisco who is 6 years old.
The Miguel Francisco family has very few resources and presently they live with their in-laws because they do not have the necessary resources to construct or even rent their own home.
Taking into account that they are a farming family and work is seasonal, Maria has shared that they don't have the most basic resources like water, plumbing or even electricity. Nor do they possess any type of furniture, they sleep on the ground and their clothes are stored in sacks. Maria has an iron skillet that she uses for cooking; however, it belongs to her mother-in-law.
Maria has also shared that she finds herself in a desperate situation and recently, her daughter was admitted to Casa Jackson due to complications of malnutrition. However, she is worried for the well-being of her other children because they are still at her mother-in-laws home that they share with her two brother-in-law's who treat the children very poorly. They are very unstable men who regularly smoke marijuana and abuse drugs; she is tremendously uncomfortable and is fearful that something could happen to her children living there. They do not contribute anything to the household, only her husband does, and the little food that he is able to bring home , her brothers-in-law and their friends with whom they do drugs, eat.
Maria has asked The GOD'S CHILD Project for its help in order to build a small house on a piece of land that her father left her so that she will be able to take her children from this environment and for the well-being of her family.
She is very Grateful to Casa Jackson and to the entire association for all of the help that it has given her daughter.
Baby Gerson was born on March 16, 2011 and arrived into this world with relatively few complications. Unfortunately, given the circumstances in which his family was struggling to survive, Gerson faced many obstacles from the very beginning.
Gerson is one of nine siblings living in the home of his parents, Manuela and Manuel. Modest does not begin to describe the one room shack where the entire family of 11 resides –two beds, a dirt floor, walls made of scrap metal and held together with pieces of garbage that the children have salvaged from the fields. Ten days after Gerson was born, Manuela returned to picking peas with her husband. With a monthly household income of barely 100USD, missing just one day of work in the fields meant an even greater struggle to put food on the table.
Shortly after Manuela returned to the fields, Gerson came down with a cough. Manuela and Manuel took him to a local clinic and he was given medicine, but a number of days passed and he was still unable to shake it. His condition worsened and they took Gerson to a hospital in a nearby community where he was hospitalized for eight days with pneumonia. He managed to recover from the pneumonia, but the struggle left Gerson incredibly weak. He was sent home and prescribed vitamins, but they did little to give the baby more energy. Upon returning home to less than acceptable living conditions, Gerson came down with a fever, his cough returned, and a more serious case of pneumonia took hold of his fragile little body.
Manuela and Manuel did not know what to do – they went hungry so that their nine children could eat. Their wages would never be sufficient to cover the costs of Gerson´s recovery in a hospital, but they knew if he stayed in the home he would not survive. A family member had taken her baby to Casa Jackson and following her advice, Manuela and Manuel arrived at the front steps of our hospital for malnourished infants. His situation was very grave and with the help of our pediatrician, Gerson was hospitalized in nearby Antigua. He spent 17 days in the hospital, the doctors skeptical that he would even survive. His condition eventually stabilized and he was sent back to Casa Jackson to gain weight, improve nutrition, and foster his development.
Gerson came to Casa Jackson as little more than a skeleton, but he returned home as a healthy baby boy with a real chance at living a full life. His fighting spirit and will to survive carried him through this difficult time and even after everything he has lived, his smile still lights up the room. Casa Jackson exists because of the generous support of our benefactors. Casa Jackson continues to save the lives of babies just like Gerson because of the generous donations we receive from people like YOU.
Rescue a malnourished baby TODAY – donate to Casa Jackson and help save Guatemala´s most precious resource.
Silvia greets us at her front door with a smile and invites us to sit on the bed in her small but well-kept one-bedroom house where she lives with her husband and two little boys. We gently ask her to tell us about the birth of her youngest son, Jose Emanuel. Lowering her gaze, she smiles at the beautiful baby sitting in her lap. At the same time, a sadness flickers across her face as she begins to recount the all too recent battle to save the life of Jose Emanuel.
“Just a skeleton,” Sylvia thought, when she saw her baby boy for the first time on July 26, 2011. Jose Emanuel was born premature and with Down's Syndrome and spent the first 18 days of his life in the hospital. He was released and sent home, but it was then that the complications really began. Sylvia and her husband didn't understand anything about Down's Syndrome, how to care for a baby with the condition, or how it was going to affect their lives and that of their newborn. Jose Emanuel wouldn't eat, he never stopped crying, and his mother didn't know what to do. His health quickly deteriorated and the family returned to the hospital and admitted Jose Emanuel into intensive care. The doctor took one look at her baby and told Sylvia that Jose Emanuel wouldn't recover. His fever was so high that at one point he actually stopped breathing and the entire room thought he had passed away. They placed the baby in an ice bath and miraculously, Jose Emanuel began to breathe again. Another eight days in the hospital and the doctors sent the family home once again – no more prepared or educated than the first time to care for their fragile baby boy.
Sylvia still didn't know how to feed her baby; and after so many hospital visits and medical exams she and her husband weren't even able to afford the baby formula he so desperately needed. Jose Emanuel lost more weight and grew sicker everyday, until finally the hospital referred his case to Casa Jackson. Sylvia knew that Jose Emanuel would only survive if she left him in their care, but her heart broke when she had to walk away from him for the first time. What came next was even harder for Sylvia to understand – the idea that social workers and medical staff questioned the love she had for her child, the belief that she may have been negligent in his care, and the reality that he might be taken away from her.
Over the next four months, Jose Emanuel was nursed back to health by the dedicated staff and loving volunteers at Casa Jackson. Sylvia never missed an opportunity to spend time with her baby, and although money was scarce she made the trip to see him every week. She spent time with the doctors, nurses, and spoke with the social workers, who finally concluded that she was in fact a fit and loving mother – she simply needed to learn how to properly care for Jose Emanuel. Every week, Sylvia watched how the nurses fed him his bottle, how they bathed him, and how they administered his physical therapy. Jose Emanuel struggled every day with a build-up of phlegm in his lungs. The apparatus to help clear his lungs and allow him to breathe was expensive, and although he couldn't live without it, the family couldn't have dreamed of affording it. Volunteers at Casa Jackson raised the money among themselves to buy Jose Emanuel the machine. Each visit, Sylvia asked more questions and the nurses told her everything they knew about Down's Syndrome. “It was shameful for me,” recalls Sylvia, “What mother doesn't know how to care for her own child?” But every week it became easier and Sylvia felt more comfortable and more capable. She says that when he was first born she cried a lot and that she feared for Jose Emanuel because he would always be different. At Casa Jackson, Sylvia began to reflect and realized that their family has been blessed. “For us, Jose Emanuel is normal. He is what we have been given and we will fight for him. If we fight for him, he is going to be an even better little boy than all the rest.”
While Jose Emanuel was recovering in Casa Jackson, a service team from Nuestros Ahijados raised enough money to build the family a new house. When he was finally released, the family had a safe, dry, and clean home to take him to. Sylvia and her husband never dreamed of having their own home, “I am grateful from the bottom of my heart and always will be. This house... Casa Jackson...the nurses... they are like gifts that fell from heaven.”
Casa Jackson is home to some of the sickest and most malnourished babies in Guatemala. With your donations, we continue to provide refuge for babies like Jose Emanuel. Every contribution makes a difference in the loves of the little patients that call Casa Jackson home.
During Global Giving's Matching Campaign (June 13), every donation you send to the tiny babies at Casa Jackson will be matched at 50%! Even a donation of $10 helps our project compete for a $1000 bonus for having the most individual donors. Please, take a moment on June 13 to donate to the children at Casa Jackson. Without your love and financial support, we wouldn't have success stories like these recent patients:
On May 23, we celebrated the third birthday of a very special little boy nicknamed "Beto." Alberto came to us in March 2011 at 22 months old, weighing only 13 lbs. Not only did our sweet Beto survive, he has thrived with the medical care, love, and (LOTS OF) attention he has received throughout the past 15 months at Casa Jackson. We all had a wonderful time celebrating Alberto, and he had a wonderful time being the center of attention throughout his first ever birthday party.
We first introduced you to Beto last year, but his continued presence at Casa Jackson has truly made him part of our family. His parents, unable to care for him, stopped coming to visit Alberto many months ago and we've been looking for a permanent home for him since then.
Recently, a distant relative came to visit us after Alberto's mother reached out to her. Mayra, who is technically one of Beto's cousins, lives near the Pacific coast with her husband and their five children. Although their home is small, their hearts are big enough to accept Alberto into their family.
We're taking our time to introduce Beto to Mayra and her family. She comes to visit nearly every day and Alberto's really warmed up to her, as he eventually does with everyone he meets. As he blew out his birthday candles, our staff and volunteers made the silent wish that next year Beto would celebrate his birthday in a real home, surrounded by a loving family.
Frank was gravely ill when he came to Casa Jackson. The 10-year-old boy with very devoted parents had been living a nightmare for the last 2 months. Frank had always been a healthy, happy boy who loved going to school and playing soccer with his friends, his parents told us. You wouldn't know it, looking at this little boy who weighed less than 50 lbs.
Frank started complaining of strong headaches towards the end of last school year. His parents, poor and uneducated, didn't have many options, so they took him to a public hospital where care is free but sub-standard. The doctors told Frank's parents that they needed to perform brain surgery.His parents didn't really understand the terminology the doctors were using, and didn't know what questions to ask before consenting. Following surgery, Frank lost his appetite and only ate a couple of spoonfuls of food and liquid each day. He was now too weak to walk, stand, or sit on his own, and even speaking was painful.
Since the surgery, Frank’s parents were going without food to purchase his medicine. His father, a carpenter, was working 18 hours a day to earn money; while his mother stayed by his bedside. They brought him to several hospitals and clinics. They were turned away each time until a doctor told them about Casa Jackson. It was hard for them to believe that we would try to help Frank at no cost. His father tried to repay us by offering to use his carpentry skills to build anything we needed, and offered for his wife to work as our maid.
Only a couple of days after Frank was admitted, he suffered a series of large seizures in the middle of the night and was rushed to a near-by hospital. Tests revealed that Frank had a large brain tumor. Casa Jackson staff used their connections to arrange an appointment with a well-known neurologist in Guatemala City, to find out if the tumor was operable and if Frank would survive long enough to have the surgery.
The day of the appointment, Frank must have known his time was limited. He kept telling his father that he just wanted to go home. Fifteen minutes after we gently placed Frank in his bed at home, he passed away surrounded by his loving parents, sister, aunts, uncles, and cousins.
The staff and volunteers at Casa Jackson share his family's profound grief but also their hope that Frank is now at peace. We wish this story had a different ending but, unfortunately, not every story is a success. Sometimes, children come to us too late to help. Despite our best efforts and well-connected medical network, we can't save them. These moments are thankfully few, but definitely the hardest at Casa Jackson. But they also remind us why this work is so vitally important in Guatemala. We work in memory of children like Frank, who came to us far too late and left us far too soon.
2011 has been quite the year at Casa Jackson. Following a ABC News 20/20 global health special, this page was created as part of their Be the Change, Save a Life initiative. Thanks to your contributions, we’ve saved many lives this year.
Throughout the month, you’ve read just a few of our success stories this year. None of this would have been possible without your support. Through efforts on this site alone, Casa Jackson has raised enough money to support our current operating costs for two years!
We’ve also had volunteers from all over the world donate over 10,000 hours of love and affection to our patients. Each of these volunteers has witnessed the everyday miracles that happen at Casa Jackson, and returned home full of passion for our children and our cause. Our doors are always open to new volunteers, and we would love to show you the important work that your donation has helped make possible.
Yes, 2011 has definitely been Casa Jackson’s most successful year yet. We hope that 2012 brings even more success, support and new friends. Thank you for joining our family this year, and we sincerely hope that you choose to continue supporting Casa Jackson in 2012.
You can follow all of our latest news, as well as read short bios of our patients, at: www.CasaJackson.org
Laura arrived at Casa Jackson weighing exactly 15 pounds—impossibly tiny for a 3-year-old girl. Our staff struggled to help Laura. Due to growing up in a home where food was not regularly available, Laura was unaccustomed to eating and struggled against our staff. Over the next few months, Laura’s weight fluctuated. Several times, our medical staff had to place a tube through her nose to deliver formula directly into her stomach to prevent her from losing any more weight.
Some weeks, little Laura truly was fighting for her life. Despite visiting a number of specialists, it remained unclear why Laura was so plagued with medical and developmental issues. We continued to provide her with the medical care, nutrition and affection that are the cornerstones of our in-patient program. Although she continued to fall ill from time to time, as the year wore on, Laura grew heavier and healthier.
After spending an entire year at Casa Jackson, Laura is finally healthy enough to return home to her loving mother and very devoted father. Laura is incredibly weak from being malnourished for much of her life and cannot sit or stand without a great deal of support. Her recovery required took a full year of support and patience; her on-going recuperation will take far longer. Laura’s parents have been taught how to best care for their fragile young daughter—and with continued support from Casa Jackson—Laura will receive the medical attention she needs to
continue the long process of healing.
As Laura´s family celebrates her homecoming this Christmas, we want to thank you for giving Laura the greatest gift of all: her health. Merry Christmas from the babies, families, volunteers and staff of Casa Jackson.
In Guatemala, Casa Jackson is known and respected for the care and support we provide to malnourished babies and their families. By providing high-quality medical care to the most severely affected infants and children and much-needed education regarding basic nutrition to their families, we offer permanent recovery to malnourished children.
One of our lesser-known roles in the community is to serve as a temporary ‘save haven’ and nurturing environment for infants and children abandoned by incredibly impoverished, desperate parents.
Santos David is a playful, loving 5-year-old who was recently given up by his overwhelmed, desperate parents. With 7 other siblings to care for, they felt unable to care for Santos David any longer. They brought him to a hospital and filled out the paperwork necessary to turn him over to the Guatemalan child protection agency (PGN).
Santos David arrived at Casa Jackson trembling, afraid to look at any of the nurses, volunteers or children around him. Tears streaming down Santos’s face as he spent his first evening at Casa Jackson rocking in the arms of a volunteer, whimpering from time to time that ‘Mommy left.’
Thanks to the steady stream of loving, playful volunteers each day and his new best friend (fellow CJ patient three-and-a-half-year-old Azucena), Santos David has spent more of his days smiling and giggling than crying. He has a wonderful sense of humor and an immense appetite! He loves playing futbol (soccer), coloring, singing songs and—as most 5-year-old boys do—being mischievous!
Santos David faces an uncertain future. Due to the halt in foreign adoptions in recent years, he may grow up in an orphanage unless a local foster family or adoptive Guatemalan family can be found. While his future is uncertain, by looking into his smiling eyes it is clear that his time at Casa Jackson is making an impossibly sad and difficult time a little easier for him.
You may not have been aware of our important temporary safe haven work for infants and young children, but your donations help support this important service we lovingly provide. Please, help us welcome more abandoned children into warm, nurturing, protective custody with your generous donation.
When Alberto arrived at Casa Jackson in late March 2011, 2 months shy of his second birthday, he weighed only 13 pounds. His stomach was riddled with parasites and the resulting diarrhea gave him a rash so severe that his bottom was cracked and bleeding. He had been malnourished for so long that he was not only too weak to walk; he had never had the energy to learn in the first place. He was not yet talking, and communicated his considerable distress through near-constant cries and shrieks.
Alberto was gravely ill and he made it to Casa Jackson just in time. Two years ago, Alberto’s 14-month-old brother was admitted to Casa Jackson in a similar state. Unfortunately, Alberto’s family sought treatment for his brother’s malnutrition too late. Little Denis passed away after only a few days in our care. Determined for history to not repeat itself, we immediately began giving Alberto the vital calories and nutrients he needed, as well as the affection and attention he craved.
His parasitic infections were treated and he began to heal. The process has been slow. Now December, Alberto is still in Casa Jackson, nearly a year after he arrived. With each passing day, Alberto grows healthier and stronger. At two-and-a-half-years-old, he can finally walk, dance, clap and sing along to his favorite silly songs. The sad, frail baby we met in March is gone, replaced by a vibrant, affectionate toddler who will soon go home to his family.
Casa Jackson exists to help infants, children and families recover from chronic malnutrition and reduce the chances of it coming back. While malnutrition can often be attributed to poverty and a lack of education, our children and their families are often affected by many serious issues that make it difficult to keep their children safe and healthy.
In Guatemala, violence against women is widespread. Sadly, each year, we treat a number of infants that were conceived through rape. These mothers try desperately to care for and nourish their children, despite the horror of their conception. Casa Jackson not only provides in-patient medical care for these infants and education for their mothers, but much-needed support, acceptance and often even a safe place for mothers to live while their children recover.
Alex is one of these beautiful babies with a very sad start. His mother was working for a wealthy man in a nearby city, making just enough to care for her young daughter and herself. Her boss forced himself on her. When she became pregnant, he fired her. After Alex was born, she struggled to care for him and his sister. When Alex was 5 months old, she fled the town she was born in with her children and found Casa Jackson.
After one month in Casa Jackson, Alex and his older sister gained weight and were growing properly. Alex was curious, happy and content and his older sister enjoyed playing with all of the babies at Casa Jackson- especially her little brother. Our social worker helped their mother find a kind, generous neighbor who offered to provide the family with food and a safe home in exchange for assistance with laundry and housekeeping. Alex and his family left Casa Jackson recently for this new home. Thanks to the generosity of our many supporters, Alex and his sister are finally free from hunger, and their mother is free from the exploitation and abuse that has marked the past few years of her life.
Casa Jackson has experienced a lot of success this year, thanks to your generous support. Our share of the hospital’s operating cost is covered for this year…and next year! This success translates directly into the number of children we are able to rehabilitate here in Guatemala, a country plagued by childhood malnutrition. Alison is one of these success stories.
When we first met 2-year-old Alison, she didn’t have that mischievous toddler spirit. She should have been running around her family’s tiny house in coastal Escuintla, Guatemala. She should have been quite the handful for her young, single mother, Elizabeth.
But Alison was slowly starving to death. Her mother, with no education or family, earned pennies a day…on a good day. Even when she could afford food, she didn’t know what babies were supposed to eat. When Elizabeth finally sought out help for Alison, she weighed barely 10 pounds.
Alison’s recovery in Casa Jackson was slow. She had to learn how to suck a bottle, how to swallow, how to chew. It took nearly six months for Alison to recover.
The story could end there, with Alison going home healthy. With hopes and prayers that she would continue to grow up strong. A success in the moment but a question mark in the future. But your support has ensured that babies like Alison will continue to receive rehabilitation in Casa Jackson and follow-up visits after they leave, that mothers like Elizabeth will continue to learn about childhood nutrition and parenting.
When we told Elizabeth that it was time for Alison to go home, she didn’t believe us at first. She pointed out all of the things that Alison still needed to learn to be a “normal” 2-year-old. She can’t walk. She still isn’t talking. She can drink from a bottle on her own but can’t feed herself with a spoon.
We promised Elizabeth that our support doesn’t end just because Alison is going home. We explained that this was the beginning of a beautiful partnership between her family and ours. And we vowed to help them succeed in every way that we can.
You are part of this promise we’ve made to Elizabeth. Your partnership allows us to make commitments to Elizabeth and countless other mothers and fathers who want a better life for their children.
One of the many ways we give children a better life is through better nutrition. With your help, we can offer nutrition-based programs in The GOD’S CHILD Project’s other Guatemalan sub-programs that guarantee that Guatemala’s next generation is growing up strong and healthy.
We feed 400 students at our schools three healthy, well-balanced meals every day. We distribute hundreds of pounds of fresh produce and dry goods to our Mothers’ Club every Friday, promising that their children will have plenty of healthy food over the weekend. We teach parents about childhood growth and proper nutrition. Our dentist and doctor see hundreds of patients every month, curing the illnesses and infection that prevent proper growth and development.
In short, your donation to Casa Jackson has helped babies like Alison in a very real way. You have given them a fresh, healthy start at life. But you have also given them the promise that they will continue to grow up strong and smart and healthy for years and years to come. Thank you for the support that you have already given us. We hope that you continue to choose us in the future.
Brian Greer and Zuzana Jankechová
When Elias Ramirez was brought to Casa Jackson’s malnutrition center run by Nuetros Ahijados in Jocotenango, Guatemala, he couldn’t sit up, cry or crawl. Elias suffers from a form of malnutrition called Kwashiorkor, which is a result of a protein deficient diet. At the young age of 21 months, Elias was losing muscle mass, had rashes all over his body and a swollen abdomen.
Elias’s mother, Aleyda Ramirez, is eighteen and currently pregnant with her second child. Not only is Aleyda a teenage mother, but she is unemployed and her spouse is a fisherman with a precarious income. Aleyda and her husband barely manage to visit their child twice per week as the four hour journey from their town called Tecojate is arduous for a family living in poverty. Elias has been staying at Casa Jackson for the last two weeks, where staff and volunteers constantly monitor his vitals and help with his condition. The medical staff and volunteers not only provide medical assistance, but also the tender loving care all infants need in early childhood. Before Elias is released, the staff will insure he is at 110% of the weight of a healthy and nourished child.
Caring for malnourished Guatemalan children is essential for the future of this Central American country, since half of Guatemalan children under the age of five suffer from chronic malnutrition. This issue is something the Casa Jackson Center addresses directly. I know you’re asking yourself, how could my donation help? Your donation would go directly to Casa Jackson’s malnutrition program, which works with families in a comprehensive manner to address their needs. All donations support the critical care and follow-up to identify and diagnose the children, along with follow up care done by nurses and dietitians and the social workers who travel bi-monthly to the homes of these children to follow up directly. Your donations will also go directly toward the vital care for Elias and the other children at Casa Jackson to sustain this integral service in the community.
I share with you today a story about two small “packages” and a wonderful opportunity to support malnourished children: Global Giving is offering a match of 30 percent for all donations received on March 16th, 2011. They will also award a cash prize for the project receiving the most donations.
Among the many joys that come our way in life, nothing compares to the birth of our children. In Guatemala, this also often a time of great challenge for many families. After 20 hours of hard labour, an exhausted mom, Mary, gave birth to precious twin girls. Premature and critically underweight at only three pounds each, they were so tiny that they could each be held in just one hand. No doctor was on-hand for the delivery. The family knew that the local doctor would not come, because they still owed him money for his recent treatment of Mary's father Antonio. The new babies were having difficulty breathing. They were fighting for their lives.
Antonio had just enough money for the journey to Antigua. From his tiny mountain village, eight hours away, he had heard that there was a place that might save his granddaughters' lives. Antonio wrapped the babies in tattered blankets and held them close during the day-long bus ride over the winding and rutted roads. He carried his precious cargo all the way to Casa Jackson.
The babies were two of the smallest ever admitted to Casa Jackson. As with every new patient admitted, we don't know for certain if they will respond to our care, or whether they will recover or not. But we provided them with intensive medical care, specialized baby formula, hugs and love in abundance. With time and love the girls began to open their eyes, move their small fingers and most importantly they began to grow and thrive. They each gained two pounds in their first 3 weeks and now weigh six pounds!
The story of these two very special girls, Maria Jose and Miriam Guadalupe, reflects the vital work of the GOD's CHILD Project. This is only possible with your continued support for the needs of these special children. As Guatemala has one of the highest infant mortality rates in the world, Maria and Miriam are not alone and this vital work needs to continue.
We need you to make a gift on March 16th so that the joy of happy recoveries can continue. Together with love, prayers and support we can change the world!
(Photos 2-4 courtesy of Christiana Dittmann)
Casa Jackson is, first and foremost, a hospital for malnourished babies. Young children between the ages of 0 and 5 come to stay for couple of weeks or, in some cases, a few months, and they leave with the capacity to stay happy and healthy from that point on. We prefer to take in the smallest cases, because the smallest cases have the biggest chance of a full recovery. The science tells us that, if experienced beyond the age of 2 or 3, severe malnutrition has long-term effects. These include lifelong poor health, slow speech, low IQ, and more.
That said, Casa Jackson has become a loving and safe haven for many special children outside of the “ideal” age range. We have one special child, Josafina, staying with us now. Josafina is ten years old and comes from a family who has never given her the love and care that every child deserves. She is a quiet child, because she never learned how to talk, and she weighs as much as the average six year old. These days, Josefina receives food and medicine and is beginning to open up to staff, nurses, and fellow patients despite the years of abuse and neglect she has suffered.
It is difficult to see children like Josefina, whose chance in life comes so late. We’ll do all we can for her, but we don’t want to let more children reach the age of 10, or even 5, without receiving the care that they need. With the help of donors like you, we are continuing our important work with the smallest victims of poverty. And because your donations support outreach in addition to in-house care, we will continue to reach more families and more communities and to prevent the permanent effects of malnutrition in as many cases as we can.
This week, we thank you on behalf of Josefina for your continued support.
Casa Jackson has been hopping since we joined the GlobalGiving family in December.
First, we said goodbye to several of our babies from last fall. These happier, healthier, and heavier children returned to live at home in the care of their families. We’ll see them again soon, when their parents bring them in for their monthly health check-ups.
Since the New Year, we’ve had 10 new arrivals. As we enter this second week of February, Casa Jackson nurses are caring for 16 little lives. Thanks to your continued support, everyone from Antonio, a 7 lb 7-month-old, to Josephine, a 10-year-old who weighs as much as the average 6-year-old, will stay with us until they are well enough to return home.
Last week, Oliver, the head social worker here at The GOD’S CHILD Project – Guatemala, visited the home of Gela Gricelda, who just turned 4 months old. When Gricelda was featured in ABC’s Global Health Special last December, she was recuperating from acute malnourishment at Casa Jackson. Gricelda’s mother Maria, like many mothers in Guatemala, thought she was helping her newborn by feeding her water mixed with barley and rice. Instead, Gricelda grew very skinny from lack of breastmilk or proper formula. After speaking with GOD’S CHILD Project staff at a field clinic last fall, Maria checked Gricelda into Casa Jackson for 1 month.
These days, Oliver reports that Gricelda is maintaing her weight and that her family is thrilled about how well she is doing. During his visit to their humble two-room house, he witnessed firsthand the huge and lasting change brought about by Gricelda’s stay at Casa Jackson. Gricelda, who used to cry all the time, is much more content, and Maria has heeded the advice of the Casa Jackson nutritionist and is breastfeeding once again.
We’re looking forward to sharing more of Casa Jackson with you, and we urge you to stay connected to this important project. Consider donating again, and tell the world travelers in your life to check out our Casa Jackson volunteer opportunities at www.casajackson.org. On behalf of Casa Jackson staff and the families whose lives you have touched: Muchas gracias.