2010 Honoree Leonor Portela rescues orphaned, abandoned and malnourished children from the streets of Guatemala, giving them a second chance at life. Her organization, Misioneros Del Camino, has given thousands of orphans a safe home, an education, medical treatment and hope for a better future. She used our funds to expand her special education program, giving 24 special needs children the opportunity to attend special education classes and therapy sessions, and receive free meals and transportation five days per week.
Eduardo is one of the children who is being helped by our funding. He is the youngest child in his family and was diagnosed with Down’s syndrome very early on. He arrived at Misioneros Del Camino with a history of aggressive and destructive behaviors; he was unable to sleep at night, unable to eat on his own and still wearing diapers.
In January 2011, after Leonor received the first installment of our grant funding, Eduardo began attending her special education program. He began attending classes and therapy five days a week.
After one year of being at Misioneros Del Camino, Eduardo had begun to make considerable progress. He could eat on his own; his aggressive behaviors had disappeared; and he could follow simple instructions.
But the most important part of Eduardo’s education was developing a sense of self-confidence and independence. Eduardo’s language skills have improved so dramatically that he can now express his own wants and needs instead of having to rely on others. His new-found self-confidence is beginning to shine through in his social interactions with his peers and siblings since he no longer has to resort to frustration and anger when he is misunderstood.
Eduardo is just one of 24 other special needs children who have found their voice, thanks to Leonor. We have no doubt that Eduardo will continue to grow during his time at Misioneros!