Content warning: The following story discusses the challenging realities of our work among children, youth, and young adults in Perú.
Our team is well acquainted with challenges and how to rise above them, but this does not exempt us from experiencing heartbreak. When we heard news that Manny*, one of the boys from Comunidad Girasoles (formerly Tigres Program), passed away from his long fight with tuberculosis, we felt demoralized despite knowing that we did everything we could.
Tuberculosis is 100% treatable, which makes Manny’s death doubly tragic. For months, we saw Manny struggle and fight to get the care he needed. We used every public health incentive we could think of to keep him consistent with his treatment week after week, but it didn’t work. At some point, the side effects of antibiotics, the challenges of getting medication, and the uncertainty of his future became too much and he left the care of Comunidad Girasoles without permission.
Manny passed away at . We knew him since he was [xx], and appreciated his growth as a youth in Casa Girasoles after leaving behind a life full of trauma. He was curious and charming, and his life underscored how barriers to systematic support and medical resources have real consequences.
Manny’s story doesn’t have a happy outcome. We could have shared other successful stories of young men gaining employment or maintaining stable relationships with a community, but we believe it’s stories like Manny’s that remind us why the work we do is crucial. No matter the circumstances and no matter the outcome, we will remain committed to all the young people we are honored to meet.
*Names changed to maintain privacy.