|   Posted: March 01, 2021

When COVID-19 hit her community in El Salvador, Amparito — a mother living in poverty — was filled with anxiety. But with the support of her local Compassion Survival Program, she's now filled with hope and peace.

Hope Can’t Be Quarantined

When COVID-19 hit her community in El Salvador, Amparito — a mother living in poverty — was filled with anxiety. But with the support of her local Compassion Survival Program, she's now filled with hope and peace.

Amparito and her daughter, Melanny

The sound of sirens rang through Amparito’s little home built of metal sheets. Living on a small piece of land next to a busy main road in El Salvador, Amparito realized the constant blaring, combined with fear brought on by the pandemic, was affecting her mental health.

“Listening to the continuous sound of the ambulances moving COVID-19 corpses has been bringing me anxiety about the possibility of getting infected,” she said. “I have questioned many things about the future.”

Amparito lives with five other people, including her 1-year-old baby, Melanny. Sharing a tiny home with that many people is challenging enough in ordinary circumstances, let alone during a pandemic. Like many countries around the world, El Salvador enacted quarantines and restrictions on movement, making the situation even more challenging and anxiety-filled.

But by the grace of God, Amparito found constant spiritual, emotional and physical support through the caring attention of the staff of the local Compassion Survival Program.

Amparito and Melanny

“The uncertainty about the future and being surrounded by negative news was causing Amparito great anguish,” said Veronica, a Survival Program mentor. “The hopelessness of her environment, the danger of getting infected, and the fear of dying and leaving her children orphans is something that emotionally affects all of our mothers.”

Being registered in the Survival Program meant that Amparito and Melanny were never actually alone. Because even during the pandemic, Survival Program mentors continued teaching mothers about spiritual resilience, proper hygiene, breastfeeding, nutrition, income generation, prevention of illness and more.

Through educational videos, emotional care via daily phone calls, and training on how to nurture their babies’ development at home, the love and support that mothers received caused a transformation. For Amparito, the ongoing care helped her cope with the social isolation and engage more deeply with her baby. Veronica had encouraged the mothers in the program to create a book for their babies using materials they had at home. Amparito surprised everyone when she shared a big, colorful book she’d sewed using old clothes, blankets, buttons and wool.

“Melanny enjoys the book and likes turning the pages,” Amparito said. “I believe the book catches her attention because I made it with love for her … and provides another way to play.”

Melanny plays in her house
Amparito plays with her daughter, Melanny

Amparito and the other mothers deeply appreciated how these activities provided a distraction during such uncertain times. So, to build up their sense of control and well-being even more, Veronica encouraged them to choose a specific place in their homes they could organize and transform. This would then become a space of peace and calm. Amparito chose her garden.

“Now my garden is prettier and has some flowers growing,” said Amparito. “Being in the garden distracts me from the reality that we are living in. It takes me away from the isolation, and I carry Melanny there and show her the colors of the flowers.”

As further evidence of her newfound hope, Amparito started a chicken farm at home with 10 chicks given to her by the program . The eggs will provide extra nutrition for her family as well as the opportunity to make income.

The COVID-19 crisis had a devastating effect on the emotional well-being of so many mothers living in poverty — and that pain could easily impact their children. But by participating in the Compassion Survival Program, many mothers and children were filled with the hope and love they needed to get them through the valley.

“The Survival Program helps me to develop personal skills that I didn’t know I had,” said Amparito. “During the pandemic, I have learned to trust more in God and change my way of thinking. Now I have more initiative and enjoy the time I have at home with my family.”

To help support moms like Amparito throughout even the most challenging of seasons, consider giving to Survival today.