Journey to a Better Life

Young girl in El Salvador has her hearing restored with the help of Compassion.

Journey to a Better Life

By: Nestor Reynoza in El Salvador   |   Posted: October 12, 2009

Compassion intervenes to provide for young girl who suffered hearing loss since birth
Esmeralda is a changed girl now. Through Compassion's Complimentary Interventions, her hearing has been restored and she is able to enjoy childhood.

Ten-year-old Esmeralda lived a lonely life in Tonacatepeque, a town just north of San Salvador City, El Salvador. The speech impediment she suffered cut her off from the children around her. She was often mocked for the way she spoke.

Esmeralda's mother did not know what to do. Left by her husband to care for Esmeralda and her brothers Gerson, 14, and Moises, 12, she struggled to support her family with the U.S.$162 she made every month working at a factory making plastic bags.

Seeing the need of the child, the staff of the Casita de Esperanza Student Center (ES-829), stepped in to help.

Addressing a Need

"First we realized the girl had problems with her classes at school and with her grades," said Sister Jacqueline, Sponsorship Coordinator at the center.

The first guess of the center staff was that Esmeralda had attention-deficitDisorder (ADD) or some kind of learning disability. They contacted the Partnership Facilitator and requested permission to get Esmeralda to a specialist to assess her situation.

"We started therapy sessions," said Sister Jacqueline.

However, Esmeralda did not seem to make any progress at school and at the center. After some sessions, the learning specialist said that it was more of a physical issue. They had to take her to a doctor.

Esmeralda suffered more than just the lag at school; she did not want to go to the center, either. The children would not play with her because they thought she was dumb. But if she wasn't going to the center, she wasn't receiving medical checkups, nutritional monitoring, school reinforcement and even more important, she was not receiving the gospel.

Compelled to Defend

"I talked to some of the children at the center," said Sister Jacqueline. "You know how there always are some that seem to be the leaders of the pack & I told them to integrate her, use their leadership for a good cause."

The children helped Esmeralda. They became her defenders instead of her mockers.

The center workers took Esmeralda to a physician, who declared that Esmeralda had had complications at birth, and since then her sense of hearing was damaged. By now, she had about 50 percent hearing loss in her left ear, and 80 percent loss in her right ear. That was why she had problems with speaking and at school: She did not do well because she could not hear the teacher.

The solution seemed quite simple: She needed a hearing device. The center staff did the research, and found that the cost for hearing aids were U.S.$800 for each ear. This amount was unthinkable for Esmeralda's family. That was almost what her mom earned in a year. But things that seem impossible for man are possible for God.

The child development center staff presented their Partnership Facilitator with the prescription from the doctor and the total cost. Thanks to the Compassion's Complimentary Interventions, which provides assitance for health and education needs, they were able to get the hearing aid for Esmeralda's right ear.

Stepping in the Right Direction

This would make a 180-degree turn in Esmeralda´s life. She was going to have better opportunities to learn, to study, to play with her friends at school and at the center, and also, a fair opportunity to hear about Jesus.

Finally, the day came. The center staff went with Esmeralda to the Salvadoran Institute for Rehabilitation.

"As soon as she got the hearing device plug to her ear, she smiled and said: 'I can hear the birds & I can hear the cars!'" recalled Sister Jacqueline.

Now, months later, she is doing well at school, especially in math. "My favorite subject is math, but I also like to make handcrafts," said Esmeralda. 

She is a totally changed girl now. She smiles and plays with her brothers and other kids at the center.

Esmeralda is improving in her schoolwork, and receives extra help so that she can catch up with the other children her age. She has friends now. She plays and laughs with other girls during break time. Most important, her spiritual life has changed.

Walking Forward in Assurance

Esmeralda already had the knowledge about Jesus and salvation, but since the world seemed so different for her after she received the hearing aids, she had to be sure.

"Sister," said Esmeralda right after they came out of the clinic with her new hearing device. "I want to accept Jesus again. Now that I can hear, I want to be sure that the words I pray are the right words".

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