Our Obligation to the Children
Elissa Montanti,Founder and director of GMRF at the Shriners children hospital with Ahmed and Rusuel from Iraq. Ahmed lost his eyes and arm Rusuel has spinal cord injury.
The Children's Gift of Mercy to Us
When the children do come from various parts of the globe to Mt. Manresa Jesuit Retreat in Staten Island, New York, they share the hope that their stay will again empower them to lead their lives as contributors to society rather than those that are dependant on others.
One Child at a Time
The Global Medical Relief Fund has now helped over 70 children, from Bosnia & Herzegovina, to El Salvador, one child at a time, where this type of care and rehabilitation was not necessarily available in their own home countries. The children come for short visits for treatment and refitting for their prosthetics. During this treatment and beginning of rehabilitation, these children stay at Mount Manresa Jesuit Retreat in the premises especially refurbished for these young guests by Global Medical Relief Fund, (GMRF). Their medical care is provided cost-free by one of several area hospitals, particularly the orthopedic unit of the Shriners Hospital at the Temple University Medical Center. Many doctors as well as hospitals are willing providers of services without cost to the children and their families.
Still, there are many expenses, from food to transportation. Nonetheless, for every $1.00 contributed and expended by the Foundation, the children receive anywhere from $80.00 to $120.00 in cost-free care from GMRF. To see more of Global Medical Relief Fund and how it helps children or to contact, go to www.globmed.org
It Started With a Child Victim from Bosnia & Herzegovina
The Global Medical Relief Fund started with a young child victim from Bosnia & Herzegovina. Elissa Montanti came to offer me, as then Bosnia & Herzegovina's Ambassador to the United Nations, help to rebuild the lives of our children. While I'm confident that my service as Foreign Minister and Ambassador had some effect on helping Bosnia & Herzegovina survive, I felt dehumanized by the lack of direct help that I could offer to so many of our victims, especially the young innocents. Elissa's initial offer was to send schoolbooks and crayons, but I was overwhelmed with the plea of a father for his young son who had lost both his arms and one leg.
Giving a Child Their Life Back: That is Empowerment
Elissa took my burden upon her back, and within 2 weeks she had arranged for Kenan to come to Staten Island, New York. However, Elissa did not stop there. This singular act of guidance became a lifetime passion to children who have suffered otherwise debilitating injuries making them beggars rather than contributors for the rest of their lives. Elissa soon became the focus of media attention, from CNN, BBC, People Magazine, "Dr. Phil" and countless other articles.
The Children Are The Stars and the Givers
However, the children are the REAL STARS:
Dalal is from Iraq . She lost her leg to the missile that killed her eight year old brother and destroyed her home.
Notice that in the picture above that Dalal wears a small bracelet around her wrist with images of the Blessed Mother. Your first impression might be that Dalal is a Catholic child. No, Dalal is not Catholic although some our children are Catholic including one now fine young man, Miro, from Bosnia & Herzegovina. No one was trying to convert Dalal. Dalal is a young Muslim girl from Iraq; but many of you may not know that Muslims, based on the Koran, believe in the Virgin Birth. Consistent with this respect, the Shia Muslims especially are devoted to the Blessed Mother, including with her representation in art. While it is a Catholic shrine, Medjugorje is shared at least in the respect and love for the Blessed Mother.
The Children Help Us Understand the Values That We Share
The children remind us of how much we share, sometimes in theology or commitment to integrity in our lives. However, the love and commitment to all children binds us all to a shared future. There is nothing more blessed than returning a child his or her life. In turn, there is no greater Mercy that can be bestowed upon us than fulfilling our commitment to the children.
Amazing Us with Their Vision
"Our children," who might seem to some as handicapped, will frequently surprise us with their ability to overcome their loss and regain the perspective of what all is possible for their lives. What they may be limited in physically, they more than compensate with God's most important endowment: "vision." While we share our aid to these young partners in our global society, we will also be blessed as they share their vision of what we can realize with our imaginations, will and spirit.
For More on Global Medical Relief Fund go to: www.globmed.org
Meghna is from Nepal and was born without a hand
Ermina and Jasmin are both from Bosnia. Ermina was born without an arm and Jasmin lost his leg when he fell off a tractor
Elissa Montanti and Fr. Ed Quinnan, S.J director of Mt. Manresa
Mt. Manresa's beautiful chapel
Hamandi and Tara are from Indonesia. they are both Tsunami victims. Tara lost her leg and Hamandi, his arm.
The Global Medical Relief Fund (GMRF)
A 501© (3) non-profit organization
The GMRF is committed to bring hope and help to children who are missing or have lost use of their limbs, have been severely burned, or are otherwise damaged due to the atrocities of war, naturall disaster or illness.
The GMRF reaches out both locally and worldwide in search of children in desperate need, with little or no resources to better their condition. We prepare necessary travel documents for both child and guardian, and arrange transportation to the United States, where candidates are fitted with prosthetic limbs and receive medical and/or surgical care. We also provide the patient and his or her guardian room and board for the duration of convalescence.
Since 1997, we have endeavored to give back to children what has been so unfairly taken away. It is often impossible to fully restore the child's physical condition, but with our help they can regain self-sufficiency and optimism for the future.
Not only do these children gain immeasurably from our organization, both physically and mentally, but they also stand as ambassadors for the United States, reflecting our nation's generosity, ingenuity, freedom and opportunity.
We at the GMRF feel that it is our obligation as human beings to commit ourselves wholeheartedly to answering those tiny voices around the world whose faint cries call out for our help.
Formated for CROWN by Nenad Bach
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