Miss L’s parents were thrilled at the news that they were expecting a baby girl. However, they knew that life would not be easy for their new baby.
Living high in the mountain rangers above Calapan City on Mindoro Island in the Philippines, poverty was a way of life for the Mangyan tribe. Very little was available in the way of education for the children and the nearest rudimentary medical care was a two hour trip down the mountain on a motorised tricycle. To add to the stress, there was constant harassment from the People Liberation Army (PLA) and insurgency group who were fighting to over throw the Government.
So when little Miss L was born with a clubbed foot, her parents were distraught. Even if there were medical care available there would be no money to pay for the treatment, so they resigned themselves to raising a daughter who would live her life as a cripple.
This was until Pauline Curtis-Smith, Ruel Foundation’s CEO, braved the long swing bridge over a raging river to reach the isolated village, and offer some hope to this little family. With her parents permission, Pauline gathered Miss L up in her arms and made her way back down the mountain to Calapan City.
Miss L remained at our Children’s Home in the Calapan City for months at a time, as numerous journeys were made to Manila for consultations with various specialists. Each trip to Manila would take at least six hours by ferry and bus, and then there would be several days in the city to attend various medical appointments.
Finally, it was decided not to pursue the option of surgery but rather corrective boots, which was of course a lot less invasive. Miss L was thrilled with her new boots and wore them proudly around the Children’s Home to show all her friends.
Thanks to the Ruel Foundation team and many donors, Miss L is now back with her tribe and attending school.
Miss L is just one of hundreds of children from poor and isolated communities who’s lives have been changed by the Ruel Foundation.