“There were times when my children had to go to sleep without dinner or days where there was food but it was not enough for everyone, so I had to stop eating to give it to them,” says Yajaira, a mother of eight in the Dominican Republic.
Yajaira’s husband is a miner, but the hard, dangerous work only provides an income if he finds the semi-precious blue stones he is sent to mine. Even before the pandemic, life was tough, and their circumstances only became more difficult after March 2020. The health of the couple's 4-year-old son, Lucas, took a turn for the worse.
“When we visited Lucas, we saw that he looked too thin and weak. He had some skin lesions and was underweight for his age,” says Graikely, director of the Compassion center Lucas attends.
The center's doctor examined Lucas and discovered he was anemic and suffering from parasites due to the family's vulnerable situation. Compassion's partner took action.
“The center started providing them with foods and other goods right away. We had just received a donation of multivitamins and some sachets of nutrients to add to the children's meals, so we immediately assisted Lucas and his family,” says Graikely. “Also, whenever coupons or vouchers are handed out to exchange for food at the local grocery, the family is never left out.”
But the family’s care didn’t stop there. After confessing to Graikely about her lifelong dream to learn to read, Yajaira is on her way to achieving her goal by taking literacy classes. To help the family financially, the center has also employed the mother as the center's cleaning manager. With the money earned, she can help support her family.
“I thank God for this opportunity and for bringing the center into my kids' lives,” says Yajaira.