At 24, Elizabeth* gave birth to her third child prematurely. Her baby was diagnosed with a rare, inborn metabolic disorder that causes weak muscular development and failure to thrive. Her quick-thinking doctors worked out a plan to transport Elizabeth to Lima, where her baby can receive life-saving support.
Coming from a rural area, Elizabeth had no family or friends in Lima, but she was able to rent a small hut atop a motor shop by working as a clothes cleaner and selling food on the streets. Although working tirelessly to support herself and her children, she couldn’t meet all her family’s needs, including her youngest’s urgent medical care. Eventually, her efforts brought her to the attention of an HBI Ines Project Health Ambassador, and she enrolled in the program.
The Ines Project first assured Elizabeth that she was neither forgotten nor alone–a whole team was helping her form and implement a medical plan of action. Together, they sourced medication, identified nearby medical specialists, and determined that she would need to live in Lima permanently.
Secondly, the team encouraged Elizabeth’s innate self-advocacy skills by teaching her how to talk to healthcare providers and request for her child’s needs. We connected her to a CESAL, a Spanish NGO through which she accessed mental health assessments and therapy, continuously engaged her in trauma-informed conversations, and supported her transportation, medical, nutritional, and financial needs. The Ines Project even worked with the Perúvian Ministry of Health to approve the importation of medicine her child needed and partnered with a pediatric endocrinologist in the U.S. for more support.
Today, Elizabeth is still working closely with our team to graduate from the Ines Project by December 2021. Graduating means finding financial stability and permanent housing, independently connecting with community and public services, and doing so with confidence.
*Name changed to maintain privacy