Why we work with special needs orphansJuly 31, 2017
Taking our programming classes to the next levelSeptember 13, 2017
While you probably know that we serve children and adults with PMLD (profound multiple learning disabilities), we wanted to take a moment to inform you of the intricacies of our work, why there is a need and what our work looks like day in and day out.
Guatemala, like many under-developed countries, has a higher percentage of people born with disabilities than developed western nations do. Sickness, malnutrition, lack of accessible and affordable medical care coupled with low government resources and a stigma against those with disabilities and their families, compounds the problem they face and in living a life free of discrimination and having their needs met.
While Guatemala has laws dictating equal rights to those with disabilities, and they provide care for those who are remanded into government custody due to abandonment, abuse or neglect, they provide few resources for families, individuals or private intuitions to care for them.
Coupled with that is a lack of general understanding of their needs, a limited amount of people with experience and few training programs on how to care for people with PMLD.
Cadanino works alongside a government home which serves over 60 such individuals.
There are three things we are trying to accomplish.
1. To improve the personalized care these children receive, in the hope that they will be happier have a better quality of live.
So far it seems to be working. Last week we had a visit from a government official in Social Services who was inspecting the facilities they run and how their residents are being treated. Since we operate as a daycare for children from a government home, those within our care are under the legal care and protection of the state.
After thoroughly inspecting our facility, asking lots of questions about our procedures, inquiring about the care of the children and assisting with feeding one of the more challenging individuals, she told us how wonderful it is that we caring for these “children” in such a loving, home-like, family environment. She noted the careful, concerned way our caretakers pay attention to the kids and was impressed with how involved and competent they were.
2. We exist to serve, minister and empower our employees.
Most of our caretakers come from humble backgrounds. While the common term for somone in this type of position is “Nanny”, we have chosen to call our caretakers “Estimuladoras” or Stimulators since their job is not to babysit, but to engage, encourage and stimulate the children. It has been amazing to see that through empowering them with a title, providing training from PT’s, OT’s and Special Educators, and encouraging to see that they can make an important difference in the lives of these people, they have risen to the occasion and quality of life for the we serve has been dramatically increased.
3. We hope to influence the way the country, the culture and the government sees caring for those with special needs.
We exist to demonstrate that there is a better way to serve them. To be a voice for those who have no voice, to listen for those who cannot hear, and to hopefully see a day when those with all types of disabilities, are more readily acknowledged in a society that accepts them, understands them and cares for their needs.
We know that this last one will require extreme patience as it is not easy to overcome discrimination, fear or the uncomfortable feeling people sometimes have when they come into contact with those with special needs. Yet we are hopeful that it can be done and grateful to you for partnering with us to make it possible.
Blessings, Timothy Martiny