Milagro was a 5-month-old baby girl. Her mother, Veronica, was fighting the darkness of a home without electricity with the cheapest alternative she had — a candle. Veronica was taking care of little Milagro just as any other mother anywhere in the world would.
For just a blink of an eye, Milagro was left unattended, and the worst scenario happened. The candle fell on Milagro’s cradle and the blankets caught fire.
Just like her name, it was a miracle that she survived at such a young age. Milagro lost her right arm, and part of her face and body had deep burns. It was a traumatic event for the baby and the mother.
Veronica comes from a very poor, but united family. Because of the very scarce resources she had, she was forced to move from one place to another, always looking for the cheapest alternative to rent a room. She says that it was God that led her to go to a new neighborhood named Plan del Pino, in Ciudad Delgado, a municipality of San Salvador city.
“Everything that happens, if you are a Christian, is to your benefit according to God’s plan.”
Because of her special needs, Milagro never went to school, nor had friends. Fear of rejection and pity for her girl led Veronica to raise her daughter in a bubble. She thought Milagro would never be normal. To Veronica, she was “special.”
At 7 years old, Milagro enrolled in our Child Sponsorship Program. She found many things at the center that she would never have found anywhere else. But above all, she found hope. She also found people who would care for her in unimaginable ways.
“Milagro has a twin sister,” says Maria, Milagro’s tutor since she entered the program. “The grandmother gave the other girl away when they were born,” she adds, hoping that this would clarify the situation of poverty that the family has endured for years.
“When Milagro entered the program, she had a very low self-esteem. She would say that any day she would die, and that the people pity her because she did not have an arm.” She used to wear her hair on the face because she was ashamed of the marks on her cheeks.
The tutor and the center director were committed to improve the family’s situation. The love that the church staff had for Milagro was so obvious that Milagro started to see in Brother Alvaro, the director, the father she never had.
“When you show Milagro you care and give her a caress, she would stick to you like a band-aid,” says Maria.
The church staff that because of the poverty, Milagro’s family moved from one place to another frequently. They also realized that the mother was in need of much help, materially and spiritually.
“I told her I would hire her as my assistant, and her payment would be food,” says Maria.
This was the strategy she chose to keep mother and child interested in the program.
“They would have breakfast and lunch here every day, and she would help me as my assistant, helping here at the program.”
Veronica and Milagro were having three meals a day at the center, thanks to the help Veronica provided at church. The surplus of the food they cooked for the children would go into a bag for Veronica’s family every day. The church did not stop there.
“We went to talk to the principal at a Christian school,” recalls Maria. “The principal got upset when he heard about the attitude of the public school. He also made the commitment to help in all ways possible.”
The only problem was that the Christian school had fees, and Milagro’s family was too poor to pay $9 a month for that private education.
It was then that the provision came.
“She got a sponsor from Korea. We cannot even say the name because we do not know how to pronounce it,” Maria says with a smile.
The sponsor sent a gift to help the girl get a prosthetic arm. With the gift, the staff began to make arrangements to get Milagro an arm. To their surprise, they found a technician that made them at a special price and committed to help with adjustments and repairs at no cost.
“We were able to pay for the arm, the enrollment fee, and two months of tuition, as well as for the books and supplies for Milagro,” says Maria. The rest of the monthly $9 fees were covered through the Compassion program, with authorization of the church partner facilitator.
Milagro began to attend first grade. She has learned to write, and now writes her own letters to her sponsor. She is now 9 and will be accepted into the public school, since there is proof now that she is as able to learn as well as any other child.
“We still have to work on her self-esteem. But we see she has improved,” says Maria.
Milagro now has a brighter future and now she prays and wishes to have a picture of her sponsor. Her biggest dream is, however, to one day meet in person that Korean man that God used to impact her life.