Sacred Heart House - Individualized Care for Our Children with Special Needs

Therapy, education and special support to children with disabilities.
October 2, 2018 - Guatemala

Afternoon snacks and smiles at Casa San Andres.

The heart physically is a vital part of the body, and emotionally, is what allows us to show total love and surrender. For the Catholic Church, devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus is a symbol of the divine and pure love of Jesus Christ, especially his love and mercy for humanity.

In 2009, NPH Guatemala christened the home for children with special needs, "Sagrado Corazon,” which means ‘Sacred Heart’ in Spanish.

Sagrado Corazon is home to 11 youths with a physical, cognitive, or sensory disability.

"The house of Sagrado Corazon is a family where all the values of NPH are practiced. NPH youths are like our own children; some depend 100% on us. It takes a lot of love and patience to work with them," says Samuel Villatoro, an NPH caregiver.

Seven of the youths from the house go to school in the morning. "In NPH, they receive a personalized education; and to do so, we have to constantly be adapting to each of the young person's individualized needs," says Carlos Lemus, Director of the NPH School. "In doing so, we excel at levels higher than the government requires."

While NPH Guatemala already enrolls members of the surrounding communities to study in our school, Lemus explains that the next step is to have government authorization to open NPH’s doors to community members with similar special needs to receive support at NPH as well. This would be another positive impact on our neighbors.

The four children who cannot attend school are integrated into other activities of the home, where they can learn how to still effectively do important daily activities, like cleaning and managing their possessions. In the afternoons, activities are carried out in other areas of the house; for example, some participate in Tienda Sonrisa (NPH’s “smile store” that sells snacks), in the church, friendship club, etc.

Everyone has the opportunity to strengthen their social and intellectual skills, and perform tasks with the guidance of other collaborators.

"The greatest satisfaction I can feel is seeing the children perform some task on their own. Seeing that they are independent indicates that we are doing our job well," Samuel Villatoro continues.

At NPH, our youths receive special attention according to their needs. The caregivers have a great responsibility placed on them. For this reason, the Human Resources department seeks to hire the most qualified personnel who can provide excellent service.

"Caregivers must have a vocation. Some of the most important aspects are: know first aid to address any emergency, have experience in treatment and diagnosis of different disorders, and preferably have extensive expertise and experience as special education professionals or therapists," says Ana Cua, Coordinator of Human Talent NPH Guatemala.

Currently, there are nine caregivers in Sagrado Corazon. They work in two day shifts, ensuring they get plenty of rest in between, so that the children have 24/7 care from fresh, motivated caregivers.

Humane, quality treatment is something that we all must have, and for the Sagrado Corazon staff, this becomes their lifestyle, because the goal is not only that the children are well, but also feel like part of a loving family.

Sofia López   
Communcation Officer




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