Maura is seven years old, the oldest of two children in a family where cooperation and care is evident, despite financial limitations. Maura’s father earns a low day-to-day wage as a bus driver. Maura’s mother works hard to stretch the family income – washing clothing by hand, preparing food and managing child care on a daily basis. Recognizing the uphill battle of the young couple to cover basic living costs, Maura’s grandparents made space for the family to live in their modest home.

As Maura entered school, the family was aware that something was wrong. The little girl could not keep up with the other children at school. Walking or playing made her chest hurt. At night she could not sleep and became irritable. Maura’s parents took her to the public hospital for consultation, and the pediatrician referred her to a heart specialist at the Belga Hospital in Cochabamba. Maura was found to have patent ductus arteriosus (PDA) and would need surgery. The surgeon explained that Maura’s problem of the open ductus could be resolved by inserting a catheter into a blood vessel and surgically placing a closing device that would enable Maura to grow and live normally. With this operation, blood would stop flowing through the PDA, permitting normal circulation, regular breathing and a healthy prognosis for Maura.

The family pooled resources for the surgery but realized “that even with ten years of saving,” their meager wages would not be enough. Dharma Trading Social Projects made the difference. Funding provided for this surgery has put Maura back on the path to health and a bright future.

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