Seven-year-old Sofia lives with her parents, Alan and Carmen, in El Salvador. Sofia has a rare genetic condition caused by deletions on her 12th and 18th chromosomes. Symptoms of her condition include malformations of her heart and limbs and developmental delays.
But if you ask Carmen about her daughter, a smile spreads across her face.
As she says: “My daughter represents love. She embodies that and she can bring that out in other people. She’s a girl without any malice. She is sweet and loving, always inviting people to sit with her and share with her.
For me Sofia is love in person. She has made me a better person. I really think God has a purposed for having given us this little person, so small, but with a great power of positive influence around her. That’s what I’d like you to know about her. Whoever meets her really falls for her.”
When Sofia’s family discovered Joni’s House, they found full acceptance and true belonging for the first time—a place where Sofia can be fully seen for the magnificent person God made her to be.
“At first I felt skeptical because we’ve looked for help in other places and never got it. But from the moment we came to Joni’s House, we felt the difference. We feel loved and know we’re in the right place,” says Carmen.
At Joni’s House, Sofia receives treatment under the guidance of a geneticist who conducted a comprehensive evaluation to pinpoint specific therapies to help her thrive. Knowing the cause of Sofia’s disability helped our Joni’s House team know what types of therapy she needs. Now Sofia receives speech, occupational, and physical therapies through Joni’s House, as well as behavioral and educational therapies.
Sofia’s speech therapist Esmerelda has watched Sofia make significant progress expressing her feelings and working through frustrations to learn new things. Esmerelda and Sofia’s parents commented about her amazing improvements:
“When Sofia first arrived, she was shy and struggled to communicate. However, just three months later, she is now using language to express herself, gaining comprehension, and speaking in full sentences!”
“Sofia would get frustrated because she can’t do certain things like getting dressed, feeding herself, or walking unless she’s on a flat surface. Her behavior and walking have both improved a lot because of Joni’s House!”
There’s no place like Joni’s House!
Not only has Sofia’s family found holistic care at Joni’s house—they have also experienced true belonging in a loving environment full of people who see Sofia’s God-given value and purpose. Sofia’s parents both expressed their gratitude to God, and to everyone who supports Joni’s House:
“Joni’s House is a blessing! Here, we feel understood. We know you care for us and for Sofia. Thank you for showing all this love!”
“The love everyone has here is apparent. I can tell this is something you all do with all your heart!”
Joni’s House Changes Lives Around the World
Joni’s House El Salvador was the first international disability center established by Joni and Friends outside the United States—but not the last! Joni’s House now serves people living with disability in some of the poorest areas of the world. Through local church, community, and government partners, Joni and Friends is providing medical and mobility support, patient advocacy, essential resources, and spiritual care to families living with disability, all in the name of Jesus.
You can help Joni and Friends bring the Gospel and holistic support to people living with disabilities worldwide!