A Family Case Study: Marina

By Julia Vanderham

Co-Founder, Kiya Survivors

Marina is a girl from Yanahura, between Urubamba and Ollantaytambo. She lives with her parents and two siblings in a small house. The family is in extreme poverty because the father is an alcoholic and he does not work to support his family. Because the youngest sibling is only 2 years old, the mother cannot look for a job.

Marina is almost 12 years old but looks like a 5 or 6 year old girl who cannot speak. When we meet her at the beginning of this year, she did not walk not crawl. She stayed at home alone because she was too big for her mother to carry her. She had never received a medical diagnosis.

The first thing we did was to enroll Marina in the CEBE “Arco Iris” so she could begin to receive stimulation treatment and a basic level of food. She was very shy in her fist days of school but she adapted very fast. We found a wheelchair for Marina. She started with physiotherapy and after a complete evaluation, Lucho (the physiotherapist) told us that it was possible for her to walk. Marina does not use the wheelchair anymore. Still prefers crawl than walk, but we have volunteers and teachers that are always encouraging her to walk.

We organized a visit to the doctor with Marina and her parents to Cusco. The doctor in Clinica San Juan De Dios took many tests and confirmed that Marina has Sterge-Webber Synddrome – a rare condition that affects her brain and body.

Marina continues improving here at school, but the situation in her home represents a challenge. Marina’s father is a severe alcoholic. There is no indication of violence in the family, but her fathers drinking is so excessive that it consumes all the family’s income – leaving the rest of the family with nothing.

The mother walks for hours to arrive to her community and help her parents to harvest potatoes to bring some food for her kids. Marina is left home with her father, who does not feed her nor clean her.

Our plan is to get a job for the mother in order to improve the family income and give the mother more independency. She does not want to separate from her husband, but at least this step will allow her to support her family.

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