By Elizabeth Alex, community outreach and media relations director
Down syndrome is a diagnosis no mother hopes to hear.
For parents living in the poorest barrios of Honduras, it is sometimes just too much to bear.
“The doctor told me it would be different and difficult to raise her,” Rosa said about Dayani, her 15-year-old daughter with Down syndrome. “There are no schools and no help for children with special needs.”
Without the advanced therapies and special education available in the United States, single mothers in Honduras whose children have Down syndrome are often faced with an agonizing choice: raise the child at home and hope for some financial help, or place the child in an orphanage.
But Rosa doesn’t have to make such a choice.
Dayani is sponsored through Unbound.
“We are walking right next to them to help manage this difficult situation,” said Ana Martinez, a program director for Unbound who works with offices in Latin America.
The support Dayani’s sponsor provides helps with food, medical care and social interaction that Dayani might otherwise go without.
“Birthday parties, workshops, outings to the water park; we integrate these children into our activities like all the kids,” said Martinez. “Mom and the child.”
Rosa never even considered placing Dayani in an orphanage, despite the fact Rosa hasn’t found work that is flexible enough to also accommodate Dayani’s needs.
“I am very thankful to God that he gave me Dayani the way she is,” Rosa explained. “She is the most beautiful gift God has given me.”
Unbound sponsors more than 500 children with Down syndrome throughout the world. And there are still others waiting for the kind of support that is so valuable to Dayani and Rosa.
“We can offer them some hope — hope they don’t see locally in their own facilities,” said Martinez. “Kind of like a light at the end of a dark tunnel.”