ECUADOR: Salesian medical clinic provides rehabilitation so young woman can walk without pain and discomfort
(MissionNewswire) The Salesian medical clinic in Mitad del Mundo, Ecuador, has given new life to a young woman with a serious medical condition. Today, Nataly who is 19 and has been going to the Salesian clinic for rehabilitation, is walking better and without pain. She’s even started running and feels safer and more stable. The therapy has helped her to be able to better connect with her peers because she is more mobile.
Nataly was born premature, and as a result, her feet were disfigured. She didn’t start walking until she was 4-years-old so was delayed in her play and development with other children. Early in her young life, her mother had taken her for rehabilitation but when Nataly was 2-years-old, her mother passed away. She was sent to live with her father who left to live with another woman so Nataly was entrusted to her grandmother, a very poor older woman who could not take her to rehabilitation.
It was just two years ago that Nataly’s aunt took her to the Salesian clinic in Mitad del Mundo. There she had an x-ray and met with a traumatologist. She had a tumor on her left leg and had to undergo surgery. The family struggled with the funding for the surgery so Salesian missionaries helped. After the surgery, she started rehabilitation at the Salesian clinic and grew stronger and stronger each day. Today, Nataly credits and thanks Salesian missionaries for the help they offered her to start a new life.
“Education is always our primary focus, but we know youth are dealing with much more than just needing access to education,” says Father Mark Hyde, director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “Salesian missionaries also meet basic needs like shelter, food and medical care. This helps to ensure that youth are healthy and able to more fully participate in the education that’s provided.”
Salesian missionaries in Ecuador focus on providing education, social programming and workforce development to help the country’s most vulnerable citizens. Technical and vocational education is also provided to help youth gain the skills needed to find and retain long-term stable employment.
Ecuador’s poverty rate was 36.7 percent in 2007 and dropped to 22.9 percent in 2016. These results show that 1.4 million Ecuadorians escaped poverty within nine years. However, many Ecuadorians still live in impoverished conditions. Ecuador is one of the most inequitable societies in the world, according to UNICEF. The richest 20 percent of the population receives almost 50 percent of the national income, while the poorest 20 percent receives only 5 percent. According to the World Food Program, almost 26 percent of all children under age 5 have stunted growth, increasing to 31 percent in rural areas and 47 percent in indigenous communities.
Close to 20 percent of Ecuador’s population are people of indigenous heritage. For poor, rural and indigenous youth, education provides the best opportunity for finding employment, reducing inequities and breaking the cycle of poverty. Salesian missionaries have been providing education and other social programs for disadvantaged youth across Ecuador for more than 125 years.
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UNICEF – Ecuador
Salesian Missions – Ecuador