Sponsorship Saves Child, Restores Family

Sponsorship Saves Child, Restores Family

By: Ephraim Lindor in Haiti, with Ovetta Sampson   |   Posted: September 21, 2006

Three years ago, Zaccalot was severely malnourished and on the brink of death. Now, because of sponsors, he and his sister Phara are healthy and attending a Compassion project.

Zaccalot Jean-Baptise stands upright in a classroom at the Compassion-assisted Saintard Child Development Center (HA-319). Standing on a table with his arms stretched upwards, Zaccalot towers above his classmates. He wants to show everyone he's strong not the shy, fragile boy he once was. He wants to be noticed.

Just three years ago, Zaccalot would have died unnoticed another one of the 30,000 children under age five who perish each day. But Compassion's intervention created a new story for this precocious child with a penchant for soccer. Zaccalot's story offers an undeniable example of how Compassion sponsorship derails death and gives new life.

"I Could Not ... Look at Him Die &"

Phanius Jean-Baptise sat with his eyes downcast. It was hopeless. His only son was dying. Zaccalot, his head swollen, his belly ballooned, was terribly sick. Even though his father worked 12 hours a day as a farmer, the little boy still went hungry. Earning less than $2 a day, Phanius couldn't afford to feed his son or take him to the hospital just blocks away from his home. Zaccalot's mother's answer to the problem was simply to leave.

"I was anxious for the future of my children," Evanie Lemonier says now, three years after her son's brush with death. "I was convinced that Zaccalot, especially, was going to die, and I could not stay in that house, look at him die, and not be able to do anything to save his life."

"Zaccalot Would Not Live Long &"

Haiti is one of the most dangerous places in the world for a young child. One out of every 14 infants born in Haiti perishes before age 1. Children who survive into their toddler years must fight severe malnutrition, dehydration and other hunger-related illnesses. Even so, each year more than 58,000 Haitian children die before they even make it into kindergarten.

Sad, shy and swollen from hunger, Zaccalot was certain to perish before he could even go to school. Compassion workers noticed the hurting child playing in front of his home. Like thousands of other children, Zaccalot was registered with a Compassion-assisted project. Project workers immediately took Zaccalot to a doctor. They discovered he had worms and was severely malnourished, and he was promptly treated.

"Zaccalot would not have lived long were it not for quick medical assistance ... ," was the doctor's diagnosis.

Hope Restored

Three years later with careful health monitoring, regular meals and a good dose of soccer playing Zaccalot can lead his classmates in a school exercise at the Saintard project. But that's not his favorite activity.

"I love to eat," he says smiling.

Zaccalot's mother has returned to be with her children. His father is still working 12 hours a day, but Compassion-provided meals and care ease the family's burdens.

"Were it not for Compassion, Zaccalot would have been dead," Evanie says, smiling. "I left home not because I didn't love my children. I left home because I did not have the courage to see them die from diseases and hunger. My greatest satisfaction is that Zaccalot was taken to the hospital. I feel very happy and I give thanks to God and to Compassion for that."

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