Maria Guadalupe is a seven-year-old girl with cerebral palsy; an incurable condition caused by damage to the motor control centers of the brain. Maria's cerebral palsy is severe; she is unable to speak, move, or feed herself. Maria also suffers from epilepsy, vomiting, chronic pain, and must be fed through tubes in her stomach. She is totally dependent on her mother for her survival.
Her mother, Silvia Guadalupe emigrated from Nicaragua five years ago in order to save her daughter's life. Without the appropriate medical care in their home country, Maria was slowly slipping away. They now rent a “ranchito,” a tiny house made of corrugated tin, in an extremely impoverished neighborhood in Costa Rica. Their home often floods during the rainy season, covering their floor with up to two feet of dirty river water.
As Maria grows, it becomes increasingly difficult for Silvia to care for her. There are no ramps for Maria’s carriage, and Silvia has to carry her daughter to and from the restroom. Silvia has scoliosis and is in dire need of a back brace and pain medication, but all of her resources go to supporting and caring for her child.
Due to Silvia’s scoliosis and Maria’s increasing weight, activities like Maria's daily bath are a constant struggle. What Maria and Silvia need most is a special chair that contains a portable toilet, wheels, and has the ability to recline. With this chair, Silvia could transport her daughter around the house without subjecting herself to constant pain. The chair would also allow her to bathe Maria and dispose of her waste with ease. This chair would transform the lives of both Silvia and Maria, but they have no hope of purchasing it themselves. It costs 350,000 colones, or about 700 dollars.
Up until last month, Silvia was receiving no government compensation, no child-support from Maria’s father, and no help from her family. They lived month to month as Silvia petitioned her landlord to lower her rent and worked everyday baby-sitting, selling miscellaneous items on the street, and even begging with Maria by her side. They often went without food, only scraping together enough money for milk. Silvia applied for a pension for her daughter, and now receives roughly $360 a month. Because Silvia has to take Maria to and from school, as well as neurology and gastroenterology appointments several times a month, she is left with very little time to work. Silvia works as a babysitter on average about three hours a day, three days a week, making three dollars an hour; and because Silvia is the sole caretaker of her daughter, she has to take Maria with her wherever she goes. In total, Silvia and Maria live on about $460 per month. About $90 of this is spent on Maria’s medications, hospital and school visits. Silvia relies on the public bus for transportation, which costs another $30 per month. Another $80 goes to special foods for Maria, and rent is $140. This leaves them with just about $100 each month for other necessities--not nearly enough.
Our ultimate goal is to provide Maria and Silvia with the special chair that they need for Maria’s everyday functions. With your financial support we hope to raise enough money for this chair, a back brace for Silvia, and also a proper shower head (at the moment their water sprays directly from the pipe). A donation of any amount would greatly impact the lives of Silvia and Maria for the better.