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ECD Team - Partner Organization Day

Journal 6 - Friday

It was a play day today! Our team spent the day playing, and working, with the children with Down’s Syndrome who are served by Intergar, one of the organizations that Friends of Barnabas partners with to provide children with quality health care. This organization was started because parents of a child with Down’s Syndrome wanted a place for their children to go and feel welcomed, and not feel different or excluded. The children there are provided therapies and basic education.

Our team’s therapists worked with small groups throughout the day, beginning with the babies and moving up to elementary school aged children. Each child had their parent with them, so parents were shown different activities they could do to help their children grow and develop as normally as possible.

Intergar and FOB have a wonderful working relationship. FOB refers all of our Down’s Syndrome patients to Intergar for support and teaching. Intergar comes out to the Barnabas House for education days with our parents and patients. One such patient that we both care for is little Ivanna Abigail. She is almost 14 months old, and also has cardiac problems. The mother and father both work, but the mother is in danger of losing her job, since she frequently needs time off for Ivanna’s appointments. Ivanna’s mother shared how important both Intergar and FOB have been for the family. They always feel welcomed, and Ivanna is never treated as being different. The mother was in tears as she shared that she knows she might lose her job because of the care Ivanna needs, but her child is more important. She knows that FOB and Intergar will help her to provide the best care possible.

The team, Intergar staff, and FOB medical staff enjoyed lunch together, then had a time of idea and information sharing. This team enjoys bouncing ideas and strategies off of each other. The questions asked had a great deal to do with the assessment of patients, and methods with which to approach the unique issues that Down’s Syndrome patients face. It was a time of sharing and encouragement. The 5 Intergar staff members care for a total of 72 children. They need our support and ongoing education on the care of this very special population of children.

The brainstorming continued when we returned to our hotel. We have learned much throughout this week, and have recognized the immense need for education in the area of early childhood development. This ranges from medical professionals at all levels, to teachers and parents. Together we set some priorities for the next few years of the program, and evaluated how we as a team could deliver this vital education to those who need it most.

The well-being and success of the Honduran children is our deepest desire. We are committed to make sure they have every chance to be the best they can be for the future of Honduras. We leave for home tomorrow with our hearts full and our lives changed. We pray that somewhere, someone this week was inspired to just get down and play with their child.

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