Born with a hearing impairment, Leonel does not speak and can only understand speech when spoken to loudly and through lip-reading. He is an extremely bright and imaginative child, and has created a language of his own through hand gestures which almost anybody can immediately understand. He can also communicate through drawings, and has begun to learn formal sign language. Though Leonel does not suffer an intellectual impairment and would be better suited for regular schooling, social stigma and unpreparedness in the local schools has prevented him from attending a regular school. Leonel thus attends the Arco Iris School five days a week, where he participates in general activities, recreation, and individual therapy to help him with his sign language skills and to ensure he uses his hearing aid correctly. When not in therapy or learning in class, Leonel can usually be found with his partner in crime, Tomas, or playing football with other classmates. Leonel would benefit from personalized therapy with trained professionals in sign language, additional medical testing to determine the extent of his hearing disability, and education for his family in formal sign language.
My Small Help needs a monthly donation of 429 soles (approximately 100 pounds) to ensure that Leonel can continue to go to school on the My Small Help school bus.
A monthly donation to sponsor Leonel will help cover the costs of running a school bus for Leonel and 11 other children to continue to attend a special school in the nearest village. By attending a special school Leonel benefits from the access to an education, physiotherapy and a daily healthy meal as well as giving his mother an opportunity to go out to work whilst he is at school.