Rosa and Ricarda: From Poverty to Progress

NPH Peru watches on with pride as two of its newest family members continue to develop after a difficult start to life.
October 9, 2019 - Peru

We love to enjoy all the dances we do with our Tías.

April 2019 proved to be significant for NPH Peru. They welcomed two little sisters to the home, Rosa* (3-years-old) and Ricarda* (2-years-old) into the family. All children are special to the NPH family, however, Rosa is the first girl with Down Syndrome to reside with NPH Peru. Luckily for the skills and resources of NPH staff, the home was prepared for all aspects of Rosa’s arrival.

Not long before, Jenny Peña, NPH social worker, and one of the home’s psychologists were accompanied by Centros Emergencia Mujer - Woman Emergency Center (CEM, Spanish acronym) on a home visit to observe the living conditions of the young sisters, as well as analyze Rosa’s level of autonomy and the possibility of whether she could enter the NPH Peru home.

However, upon entering house, alarm bells began to ring for the NPH staff when they saw the environment the girls were living in. The home was very precarious, untidy and disorganized, with even the house structure being unstable, due to the level of poverty the family lived in. At the back of the house was a farm, creating a very unhealthy and insecure environment for the little ones.

Both the girls were scared when Jenny approached, constantly crying with very little communication skills. They had poor health and poor nutrition. Ricarda could not communicate and Rosa had a hard time walking, as well as suffering from bronchial disorders and asthma.

Jenny and her colleague quickly recognized that the girls needed immediate support, and NPH had to react quickly.

On arrival at NPH Peru, Giovana Fuentes, Health Coordinator, developed a vaccination calendar for the girls. According to their files, Rosa had only had one vaccine at four months old and Ricarda* only had vaccines at birth. The missing vaccinations have since applied at a health center in Cañete, although the health risks without them had been extreme.

Rosa has visited several specialists and pediatricians from outside the home, although to continue her monitoring she attends a weekly check-up with the house doctor and a monthly check-up with the pediatrician. Furthermore, the home has been equipped to meet Rosa’s needs and caregivers have received training and talks in how to provide the best possible care.

The girls have achieved a great improvement thanks to the monitoring and attention they have been given. From their medical appointments and their evaluations with the psychologist, to their early stimulation therapies.

At first, both girls had difficulty playing and communicating with other children. They did not know how to hold a pencil or even paint, as well as general mobility. With stimulation therapies, Lisa Maurer, our therapist, has set out to help them with their motor skills and basic training.

Living with other children their age has also helped improve their interaction and communication skills. Ricarda is now able to play and share with other girls. She also works hard at talking and tries to repeat everything she hears. She is now learning about colors and animals. Rosa currently has more freedom to move independently and understands when people when people talk to her.

“The other day, I was observing an activity organized by the caregivers. One of the other girls was crying because she had lost the game, so Rosa approached the girl and comforted her. She then dried her tears, hugged her and integrated her into the game again,” says Andrea Chavez Olivari, her psychologist.

“We can see that Rosa has a good the level of understanding and empathy and we realize these attitudes go beyond her disability, demonstrating her ability to interact with the other children and react much better than the others.”

Adaptation to changes and insertion in school has been key to the development of girls. Rosa becoming more sociable when living with adults, and there is also progress in her motor skills through eating and walking. Similarly, Ricarda is a very intelligent and skilled girl, with a love for puzzles.

“The girls have balanced diet, with three meal times a day, as well as snacks. Medical care and have a perennial care all the times and are growing in a more familiar environment. Rosa is accessing education, an early stimulation treatment and sex education workshops that are within the apprenticeship program offered by the NPH Home,” Jenny Peña explains, Social Worker of NPH Peru.

It is hard to tell what would have happened to Rosa and Ricarda if Jenny and her colleague hadn’t found them. Living in extreme poverty without adequate healthcare, education, nutrition and utilities for their learning needs and disabilities may well have led the family to further poverty, as well as further ill health and possible death. However, they now form another beautiful link to the NPH Peru family, which again breaks the cycle of poverty.

*Children’s names have been changed to protect their privacy.

Enjoy learning about Rosa and Ricarda? Visit your local NPH office to find how you can support NPH break the cycle of poverty with our nine homes throughout Latin America and the Caribbean.

Scarleth Mendieta   
Communications Officer

You may be only one person in the world, but you may be all the world to one child.
—Fr. William Wasson




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