Picture: Haliyma was confused as I pointed to my smile to get her to smile for the picture.
This little girl, Haliyma, is one that has touched my heart the very first day I met her. I could tell she was a bit different than the rest of the children and struggles in school. For the most part, she is a very quiet and reserved little girl who rarely shows any expressions. With me, she comes alive and shows laughter and smiles. I wish I could capture her laughter and smile on camera as it is in real life. It is the most amazing thing and at the same time breaks my heart. I'm happy to know I can give her happiness even if it is only for a little while. It's a sad story and life ahead of her unless I can do something to help her. While I want to do as much as I possibly can here, I think changing the life of a child, even one is more than doing nothing.
She has become my focus and desire to help. It's quite possible my desire to help her comes from my sorority, Delta Gamma, and our philanthropy, Service for Sight. Haliyma has a lazy eye that prevents her from seeing correctly and is causing delays in her ability to learn. Without any surgery, she will likely be left behind in the world as public schooling is not really found here and if it is it is most likely a terrible school. Helping Haliyma get surgery to fix her eye would give her the chance to live a normal life and possibly go to a normal school. She would be able to see correctly and learn rather than having such difficulties. The other kids pick on her and I have been warned she often misses school or comes with various bruises and marks on her body from abuse.
I am currently working towards finding a way to set up a website to accept donations towards helping this little girl. I am hoping and know my sisters of Delta Gamma will help me make this dream a possibility. I am going to send them an email this week and know that my President, Natalie, and VP of Foundation, Lauren, are excited to help and offering the girls service hours in exchange for their donations. It would be amazing to help give this girl a chance that every other child has. It makes me sad to know without this surgery, she will most likely be thrown aside and end up living on the streets here and there.
I'm off on Safari for the weekend and then will be back in town to try to talk to some doctors and gain an understanding of how much this surgery would cost. I am more determined than ever to help her and hope to be able to do so through the love and support of all those around me. Here, a dollar goes an extremely long way and provides children with the opportunity to have a life they are able to give back with and not worry about where they will receive their next meal. Thank you all for your love and support in my journey here in Africa as it has meant the absolute world to me. I miss you all dearly and will be home in 3 short weeks, but I know my time here is not done yet. I have more to do to try my very best to help these children.
Keep an eye out for more information on how you can help! I'll try to update you all as soon as I can!
With love from Africa,