Miraflor’s challenges were piling up, threatening to overcome her. The 30-year-old housewife had to deal with her son Cliford’s rapidly worsening condition while at the same time take care of her husband Rio who was recovering from surgery. Rio couldn’t work and bring in any money, so Miraflor’s already struggling household was falling apart.
It especially pained the mother to see her son in the condition that he was in. It was only a few weeks ago when Cliford was a happy, healthy nine-year-old boy. Although ranked top five in his school, he was also very social and active, often playing with his friends and swimming in nearby swamps and creeks. It came as a surprise to everyone when runny blisters started covering his body.
“The condition spread very quickly so that his legs, arms, and even his back became full of blisters,” Miraflor recalled. “Only his face was free.” The blisters were extremely itchy and would often painfully burst open and morph into wounds that would make Cliford wince at a touch. Miraflor couldn’t even hold her son. He cried himself to sleep at night. Cliford’s studies began slipping when he missed school for two weeks, dropping down a rank as a result. His teacher even suspected he had leprosy.
More challenges arose for Miraflor with no money coming in. She found that feeding Cliford fish seemed to help, but the price of fish made the solution unsustainable. Miraflor tried everything for Cliford, taking him to different clinics and buying ointments, but nothing had any effect. Exhausted, Miraflor was at her wit’s end.
The Transform community had just started holding training sessions in her community, and Miraflor went along to see what she could learn. A few weeks into the program, she approached one of ICM’s health staff and explained her situation. Miraflor was then given four bars of soap and was taught how to use them. Unlike the community’s local soaps, these high-quality bars were recycled by Soap Cycling and given to ICM to distribute in ultra-poor communities.
Immediately after using the soap on Cliford, Miraflor saw results. The blisters stopped weeping, and the wounds began to heal. Soon, most of Cliford’s skin had completely recovered, and he could finally eat all his favourite foods again without breaking out. The family no longer had to pay clinic fees and could spend money on food and household supplies instead.
Prior to Transform’s contribution, the Manda family couldn’t even afford a single bar of soap – now they have a surplus.
Throughout the training, Miraflor was able to develop healthy habits that would aid her for the rest of her life. While she used to not have any family hygiene rules, she now makes bathing and washing a priority in the household. “Thank you so much for your help. The soap really helped Cliford’s skin heal, and it helped all of us as well,” Miraflor said, satisfied. The family is in a more stable condition, and Cliford is finally back to being a happy, healthy, nine-year-old boy.