Maribel joined Watsi on February 21st, 2016. Three years ago, Maribel joined our Universal Fund, supporting life-changing treatments for a new Watsi patient every month. Maribel's most recent donation supported Naima, a 6-month-old baby girl from Ethiopia, to fund surgery to correct her birth condition.
Maribel has funded healthcare for 45 patients in 9 countries.
Maribel has funded healthcare for 45 patients in 9 countries.
Naima is a smiley and playful baby girl from Ethiopia. She loves to breastfeed and play with her seven older siblings and her mother. Her dad is a retired driver and the community elder, and her mother stays home to care for the children. Because Naima's father has no source of income, their older children support them financially. Naima was born with an anorectal malformation, a congenital abnormality that leads to a complete or partial intestinal blockage. She needs to undergo a series of procedures to eliminate bowel dysfunction. Naima developed bowel obstruction because of her condition and an emergency colostomy was done. She has had multiple issues with her colostomy care and associated complications. As a result, she cannot make stool in a typical way. Her parents have been very troubled because of her condition and are asking for support. Naima is scheduled to undergo surgery to correct her condition on September 22nd. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation, is requesting $1,500 to cover the total cost of Naima's procedure and care. After her recovery, Naima will no longer experience bowel dysfunction or be at risk of developing health complications in the future. Naima's father says, “I hope my child will get the treatment and heal. Once she finishes her treatment, I hope she will be relieved from her pain and suffering and lead a healthy life.”
Hassan is a hardworking 37-year-old from Kenya who works as a casual laborer. He lives in a single-room rental house that costs about $10 per month. On July 25th, Hassan was working as a night guard when he was attacked by unknown people. During the attack, his left leg was hit with a sharp object. He was eventually taken to a nearby health facility for emergency treatment, where he received stitches and was discharged with pain medication. However, his condition did not improve, and he was still unable to walk. Community health workers in the area took Hassan to a nearby hospital, where an X-ray revealed a transverse patella fracture with some displacement. A doctor at our medical partner's care center, AIC Kijabe Hospital, recommends that he undergo fracture repair surgery. Hassan shares that income from casual labor jobs in Kenya is inconsistent and is not enough to pay for the proposed procedure. He also does not have medical insurance and would need to pay for the surgery in cash. Fortunately, surgeons at our medical partner can help. On August 26th, Hassan will undergo a fracture repair procedure, called an open reduction and internal fixation. This procedure will help him walk easily again. Now, our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation, is requesting $979 to fund this procedure. Hassan says, “I am struggling to walk as a result of the fracture. I am unable to get any manual work to earn a living because I cannot use my legs. Surviving without a job is an issue. I need this surgery to be able to work.”
Santiago is a charming four-year-old boy from a mining community in the mountains of central Bolivia. His parents both work in office roles at a local mining company. Santiago enjoys watching cartoons and making new friends. He also loves to dress up as his favorite superheroes like Spiderman, who he aspires to be when he grows up! Santiago was born with a ventricular septal defect, a cardiac condition in which a hole exists between the two lower chambers of the heart. Blood leaks through this hole without first passing through the lungs to obtain oxygen, leaving him weak and short of breath. Fortunately, Santiago is scheduled to undergo heart surgery on July 26th with the support of our long-standing medical partner Haiti Cardiac Alliance, which is now growing and expanding into Bolivia. Surgeons will close the hole with a patch, allowing blood to properly flow through his body and improving his quality of life. Another organization, Gift of Life International, is contributing $2,500 to pay for a portion of Santiago's procedure costs. Our medical partner is requesting $1,500 to cover the remaining costs, which cover surgical expenses, cardiac exams, medications, and travel fees so Santiago and his family can travel to receive his life-changing cardiac procedure in La Paz. Santiago shares, "I hope that after my surgery, I will grow up to be Spiderman!"
Hellen is a charming and playful 3-year-old girl, living with her mother. They live with Hellen's grandparents who are also helping to raise her. The grandparents are small scale farmers, who rely on the crops that they grow, and on any income their surplus crops generate. While Hellen was born a healthy child, her mother noticed that when she began to walk, her legs bent outwards. Ultimately, Hellen was diagnosed with bilateral varus, a condition which is typically caused by the accumulation of excess fluoride in the bones, which results from the drinking of contaminated water. Hellen now walks with a limp, and has pain in her knees when she walks. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare, is requesting $880 to fund corrective surgery for Hellen. The procedure is scheduled to take place on June 17th, at Arusha Lutheran Medical Centre. Treatment will hopefully restore Hellen's mobility, allow her to participate in a variety of activities, and greatly decrease her risk of any future complications. Hellen’s mother says: “I have watched my daughter's legs move from bad to worse for two years, but I cannot afford to seek treatment for her. I am in dire need of your support.”
Teriki is a 74-year-old woman with three children. She is proud that all have grown up healthy and have children of their own now. Teriki’s husband passed away many years ago, and she lives with her grandchildren. Teriki’s children farm a small piece of land and take on labor jobs to help provide for their families. Alongside farming maize and vegetables, Teriki also helps on peoples’ farms to support her grandchildren in school and provide basic needs for herself. Teriki was recently in an accident when she had to separate some animals who were fighting on the farm. Now she has swelling and bruises, and her leg is broken. Teriki is experiencing severe pain and must use a wheelchair to move around, which has been challenging for her to do. Fortunately, surgeons at our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare (AMH), can help Teriki heal. On May 18th, Teriki will undergo a fracture repair procedure called an open reduction and internal fixation. Upon recovery, Teriki will be able to walk easily again. AMH is requesting $1,145 to fund her medical treatment. Teriki says, “I really feel sorry right now. I have been depending on myself, yet now I cannot walk by myself. Please help me get back on my feet so that we do not suffer more for my grandchildren.”
Gebreegziabher is a brave, young, and fun boy who loves to hangout with his friends. He loves to play chase and other games with his friends and brothers. He has five siblings and shared with us that he loves goats! Gebreegziabher never went to school because of his condition. He is a shepherd and helps to keep the sheep and goats of his parents. Because of his condition, he has endured bullying, but he continues to be brave and his dad shared: “He is so strong despite his sickness. When others pick on him and speak bad things about him and things related to his disease he even gets in to fights.” Gebreegziabher's mom and dad counsel him and comfort him and help him to bring out self-confidence and strength. His dad and his mom are farmers and his mom takes care of all the household chores. Dad said: “Our area is dry. We work hard and farm but the harvest is poor with lack of rain. We purchase food because our harvest is not enough to support the family.” They also raise animals to support themselves. The community survives with the dry land and the scarcity of food by donations from the government and NGOs. But the past two years they couldn’t get the donation since they are in the war zone. For these reasons they can’t afford the medical bill for their son. Gebreegziabher was born with congenital anomaly called bladder extrophy. That is an abnormally where the bladder is open to air. Given the pain and risk of infection, he just ties clothes around the wound. His mom is very much worried and concerned because of his condition. She shared that she has excluded herself from the community for years in taking care of him and raises him and recalls that when growing up, he would sit faraway from others and boys in his age. They keep up hope for better days ahead and are a loving family who support each other the best they can. His Dad said: “He learned to exclude himself from others growing up. We are sad as a family because of his condition. The neighbor insults us, discriminate us and we feel so sad about this. We couldn’t tell what will happen to him. And we bring him to God always.”
SreyLean is a 15-year-old student in the tenth grade. She has one younger brother in grade seven. Her parents are rainy day rice farmers. SreyLean enjoys reading, cooking, and exercising with her friends. She likes math in school and would like to be a lawyer when she grows up. A month ago, SreyLean was involved in a motorcycle collision on her way home from school and fractured her left knee. Her parents took her to a government hospital to repair the fracture, but because they couldn't pay for her treatment, they left the hospital early. Her wound remains open and is not healing well. It is painful and she is unable to walk. When SreyLean's family learned about our medical partner, Children's Surgical Centre (CSC), they traveled for three hours seeking treatment. On March 10th, surgeons at CSC will perform a muscle skin flap to to heal the open wound on her left leg. Now, she needs help to fund this $657 procedure. "I hope that my leg will be quickly healed and this infection will go away. I want to be able to walk again," SreyLean shared.
Pai is a 63-year-old woman who lives alone in a refugee camp in the border region of Thailand and Burma. She receives 350 baht (approx. $12 USD) each month on a cash card from The Border Consortium, to purchase food in the refugee camp. This support is just enough to cover her daily needs, since she sometimes shares meals with her sister. In June 2019, Pai first notice that the vision in both of her eyes was blurry. By late 2021, she could no longer see with her left eye. She then went to the hospital in the refugee camp, run by the International Rescue Committee (IRC). A medic checked her eyes, gave her some eyedrops, and told her that they would refer her to Mae Sot Hospital (MSH) for further follow up. IRC staff brought Pai to the hospital in January where the doctor completed a vision test and also checked her eyes with specialized equipment. The doctor diagnosed her with cataracts and shared that she would need surgery to be able to see clearly again. Currently, Pai can only see objects near to her with her right eye and even then, she cannot see objects clearly. She can only perceive light with her left eye. When she walks, she has to do so slowly to avoid stubbing her toes on stones and other objects. At night, she now needs someone to assist her to get around at all. She also has difficulty cleaning her house and doing other household chores like washing her clothes or cooking. She shared that when she tries to cook on her own, she will sometimes mixed up the ingredients now. Our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund, is requesting $1,500 to fund lens replacement surgery for Pai. On February 22nd, doctors will perform a lens replacement, during which they will remove Pai's natural lens and replace this with an intraocular lens implant. After recovery, she will be able to see clearly. Now, she needs help to fund this $1,500 procedure. Pai said, “I do not want to depend on my sister as she has to look after her family too. However, now I have to depend on her for many things and I feel sad about this.” Pai is thankful to the donors who can help pay for her treatment cost. She is very happy that there will be a donor for her. She said, “I hope that I can see again, and I really want to see the donors and everyone at BCMF’s organisation who was willing to help me. Thank you so much for your kind support.”
Serah is a hard-working farmer and mother. Sadly, she has been widowed for over 30 years but is happy to have a loving family of seven children who are now adults that live with their own families. She has a small quarter-acre tea farm, but largely depends on her children for support in her older age. In December 2021, Serah found a painless lump that worried her. She visited a local health center where additional testing was recommended. She was diagnosed with breast cancer and a mastectomy, or a surgery to remove breast tissue, was recommended to rid her body of the cancer and to prevent the cancer from metastasizing. Without treatment, the cancer could spread to other organs. Fortunately, our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare (AMH), is helping Serah receive treatment. On January 25th, she will undergo a mastectomy at AMH's care center. After treatment, Serah will hopefully return to a cancer-free life. Now, AMH is requesting $1,110 to cover the cost of her procedure and care. Serah shared, "all my life I have had the privilege of good health. We thank God. The news of cancer and surgery came as a surprise to me considering I am an old lady and fragile. I need this surgery to save my life from the jaws of this fatal disease."
U Hla is a 43-year-old man from Burma. He lives with his wife, three sons and a three-year-old daughter in Mon State. His sons go to school, while he and his wife collect recyclable plastic items and sell it to a recycling plant to earn a living. In his free time, U Hla enjoys growing vegetables in their garden. In October, U Hla was walking around his hut barefoot when he stepped on a piece of glass that cut his right toe. He could not afford to go to a clinic or a hospital and, over time, the injury became infected. His right toe is swollen and has turned blue. He cannot put any weight on his toe and has to use a wheelchair. Due to the pain, he cannot work as much as he needs to and he shared that since the end of November, he had to take his sons out of school to help him earn enough income for them to survive. Fortunately, our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund, is helping U Hla receive treatment. On December 16th, surgeons will perform a debridement to help his infection heal so that he can go back to work and his sons can go back to school. Now, U Hla needs help to fund this $694 procedure. “I really miss my children and I want to see them,” said U Hla. "After I recover, I will go back to work and plant more vegetables. My garden is small, but I want to grow more vegetables and sell it to earn more money. I want to support my family as much as I can."
Hermon is a sweet 4-year-old boy who loves people and being with others. His name means God’s gift. He loves playing video games and loves to be with his father and uncle. Hermon is adorable and playful, and is always smiling. His mom is raising him from home after leaving her business when he was born. His dad is a storekeeper in a government shop. His income is low to support the needs of their family. Sometimes mom tries to work as a broker carrying her child on her back and her family tries to offer financial support for their living too. Hermon was diagnosed with cryptorchidism, a condition in which one or both of the testicles remains undescended. If left untreated, Hermon has an increased risk of developing hernias, testicular cancer, and fertility problems in the future. Hermon will be receiving assistance from our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation (AMHF). Fortunately, he is scheduled to undergo corrective surgery on November 16th. AMHF is requesting $754 to cover the total cost of his procedure and care. His mom said “I hope he will get to attend school like any other child. I hope he will grow loving God and serving Him. ”
Emily is a kind 26-year-old woman who recently got engaged to her childhood friend. She is the fourth born in a family of 7 and lives with both of her parents. One day in 2008, Emily started to experience severe abdominal pains. The pains kept increasing and she could not pass stool. On the third day, her parents rushed her the hospital where a diagnosis of bowel obstruction was made. She was taken to the operating room and had an ileostomy done as a temporary treatment for the bowel obstruction. An ileostomy is an opening in the abdominal wall that is made during surgery, part of the small intestines are diverted through an opening in the abdomen called a stoma. A special bag is placed over the stoma to collect fecal matter that are unable to pass through the colon out of the body. An ileostomy is reversible since it is only made to provide a temporary passage for the release of stools out of the body while allowing healing of the operated part of the intestines/ bowels. Emily was scheduled for ileostomy reversal in July 2008 and the parents took her back to the hospital where she was admitted. She was later discharged home and the surgery rescheduled since the there were many patients in the waiting list. She has since had more than 7 admissions for the procedure but each time she is discharged and the surgery rescheduled. They kept going to the hospital and in 2011 they gave up since they were not getting help and had already spent a lot on transport and meals. Emily eventually dropped out of school due to discrimination and the stigma associated with the condition. She now uses cheap thin plastic papers as stoma bags as the family cannot afford to buy the all the bags due to financial constraints. She has grown to live with this condition. Despite all that has been in her way, Emily is still very hard working and earns a living from washing clothes at people's homes. This enables her to buy the plastic bags for the stoma. Often, she runs out of money to buy the bags and is forced to stay indoors. Recently, one of their neighbors had a thyroidectomy done at Partners in Hope Hospital under a special program and urged her parents to bring her for assessment. The surgeon reviewed her and indicated that the condition can still be corrected through laparotomy where an ileostomy reversal will be done. This surgery will greatly improve Emily’s life, restore her dignity as a human being and remove the emotional pain and torture that Emily has lived with the past 13 years. Her parents are seeking financial support to help their daughter undergo the surgery. “I remember that when I was young, I used to use the bathroom normally in the pit latrine. I pray that one day I will be able to use the toilet again. I hope that when I get married I will be like all other women and will not have to embarrass my husband with this condition," shared Emily with a shy smile on her face.