Monday, June 13, 2011
My daughter Christiana Jacobson recently returned from the Dominican Republic where she was part of a Micro-finance field study for Northeastern University. While she was there, she came across a young boy whose legs had been severely burned. As they healed, they had webbed together taking away his ability to walk. In an attempt to reach out to help Joselito, Christiana wrote this story. As a result? Joselito will be getting the surgery he needs....and Lord willing, he will one day walk with his friends!
Joselito was on the ground, crouching with a sad facial expression that immediately made me focus my attention to the burns on his legs. Three years ago, when he was only six, he and some boys were playing and set fire to a bottle of paint thinner. It exploded on him, severely burning his legs.
Joselito underwent surgery. He spent over a year in intensive care. Since Joselito had never been exposed to the air conditioning in intensive care room, he often became cold and would crouch at the end of his bed. His parents were not there constantly to help him straighten his legs. As a result, the tissue from his knees and upper legs became connected while his wounds were healing.
Since then, Joselito hasnʼt been able to stand up. For the past two years, he had had to walk in a crouching position with the help of his hands. Although he is 9, he canʼt attend school because the walk there is far, nor would he be able to sit at a desk. The other students would ridicule him.
People that live in communities like the one Joselito lives in survive on about $2 a day. Joselitoʼs mother, Ana Guillen, rallied the women in the community eight months ago so that they could start their own Bank of Hope. I didnʼt get the chance to meet her but I learned from the loan officer that she is a hard worker- not only does she invest the RD$ 10,000 she borrowed from Esperanza on underwear, refreshments and snacks, but she also works cleaning an office during the work week.
Anaʼs income barely allows her to provide her family with more than one meal per day, which is why Joselito has learned to live the way he has these past three years. To me, it seemed unfair and unacceptable, and so easy to fix: another surgery and appropriate rehabilitation. At this point we have been able to secure a doctor who is willing to perform the surgery, but we are looking for monetary donations to help pay for the rehabilitation. If you are able to help in any way, it would go a long way. Please contact Ximena at: email@example.com if you’d be willing to help.