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Reaching Out to the Community Care Center
by Ronne Rock
Posted on Tuesday, May 31, 2016
It all began with fire and water. In the summer of 2015, members of Women for Orphans Worldwide focused their attention on the families of Chimaltenango, Guatemala. Much work had been done to provide education for the children, but more work was needed to keep those families intact. Clean stoves and drip water filtration systems were installed in homes once filled with the choking smoke of open fires, and plans were set in place for a community care program that would provide more extensive support.

"These are families of extreme poverty,” Tiffany, one of WOW’s founders, said. “This program is about family preservation—keeping kids from becoming orphans. WOW is providing the majority of the support for this. We have rented a building close to The Ravine so the families can walk there, and we have hired a social worker. The plan for next year is to start a school on the property.”

The Community Care Center is set to open later this summer, offering tutoring, classes, and other resources to children, and work is already being done to get to know the families and determine the full scope of need. Heydi, program director of the CCC, shares the story of one family in significant need.

"Vivian is 30 years old. Married to her husband Cesar when she was only 15, now they have three children - a 15 year-old daughter, 13 year-old daughter, and 10 year-old son. In her short life, Vivian has had seven pregnancies in total - but in difficult circumstances, she has grieved great loss.

"When Vivian was a child she suffered from urinary tract infections very often, but her family did not pay much attention due to the lack of resources. Her husband believed only in natural medicine to cure the infections, and so she didn't receive medical attention.

Vivian pic 3

"At only 28,  Vivian was diagnosed with kidney failure, a disease that has caused additional health problems.  Malnourished, she has a low white blood cell count that requires occasional blood transfusions.  Her husband, Cesar, has done everything possible to help Vivian. She has to have treatments two times a week in Guatemala City to keep her kidneys working, but often can not afford to receive them due to finances. Cesar works each day buying and selling scrap metal as well as repairing appliances, and his income is solely dependent on sales. With no consistent salary and no benefits, they struggle to survive.

"Vivian used to travel by chicken bus to receive her treatments, but because of her frailty, she suffered fractures in her hip, collarbone and knee when one bus was forced to stop suddenly. She was then transferred to a national hospital, where doctors told her she urgently needed an operation. But the operation was considered high risk because of her condition - it was very likely that she would not wake up from anesthesia if she had the surgery at that time.

"Vivian, seeing the potential danger of the surgery, decided to wait until her health improved so that the the procedure would have a better chance of success. Sadly, her condition has taken a turn for the worse. Now bedridden, Vivian is unable to move on her own. Despite the circumstances. her husband is still taking her every week to the National Unit for Chronic Kidney Disease -UNAERC- where she receives treatment, but now they have to pay for transportation. Often there is a waiting list when they arrive, even for those who have an appointment, which necessitates a stay at a hotel if the doctors do not treat her that day, Her medicines - critical to her health - are not provided by the hospital. They prayer is always that, if they are able to travel to Guatemala City for her treatments, the prayer is always that they'll be able to make and  keep an appointment so they may return home the same day.

"Because of her condition, Vivian now needs a wheelchair at home and to travel to her treatments. The family has tried everything to get one, but the cost of both purchase and rental is too high. An acquaintance has provided money for a few months of rental, but there is no plan for longterm care. Cesar feels as those He can't go on much longer - every penny earned is used to provide care for Vivian, and there is rarely money to take care of family."

Vivian Pic 1

The Ravine Community Care Center has stepped in to provide the family with a clean stove and water filtration system since Vivian needs clean water to help with her recuperation, and the children will be offered educational benefits when the program launches later this summer. If your church or organization is interested in partnering with the Community Care Center to provide ongoing care for families in need, please email Amy Norton at anorton@orphanoutreach.org.



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