· Alejandra was abandoned as a child and lived in poverty.
· When she first came to Kids Kingdom orphanage she never smiled.
· Now she never stops smiling.
Nine years ago, a disabled little girl named Alejandra arrived at Kids Kingdom orphanage in Ensenada, Mexico. She rarely spoke, she never smiled, and she could barely open her eyes.
Before coming to their new home at Kids Kingdom, Alejandra, 8,and her brother Raul, 10, had suffered greatly. After they were abandoned by their father, they lived with their mother in a run-down tire shop off the highway. Their mother was dying from leukemia and could not support them. So,young Raul started working in the tire shop at age nine to support his mother and sister.
Alejandra and Raul never attended school or learned how to read or write. In addition, Alejandra had a rare neuromuscular disease called myasthenia gravis that caused muscle weakness.
When their mother passed away from leukemia, they were taken to a temporary shelter where they lived for the next year, before being transferred to Kids Kingdom.
Alejandra had a very difficult transition to her new life.
Tomas Shockey, the Kids Kingdom director and “papa” to all of the children who live there, was determined to find help for Alejandra’s medical condition. He took her to children’s hospitals in Mexico City and Tijuana where she was finally diagnosed. They learned there was no cure for her condition but treatment could help manage her muscle weakness. She currently receives stem cell treatment at a local clinic which has helped her condition immensely.
“She is becoming a vibrant young lady,” said Tomas.
Because Alejandra never attended school and her first language was Triqui (a native language in the state of Oaxaca where her mother was from), she had a very difficult time at school at first. But she was tenacious and determined to learn.
She is currently in ninth grade and has good grades! She has lots of friends and she excels in her physics class. She dreams of becoming an interior designer or a fashion designer after she graduates from university.
Due to her condition, Alejandra still faces many physical challenges. She cannot play sports with the other children, but she has learned to love other activities. She loves to read, watch movies, and take care of the dog, rabbits, and chickens that live at the orphanage. She also enjoys helping out in the kitchen.
“Alejandra has come a long way since she first arrived.After about a year, she smiled for the first time. I remember that day so clearly. She said, ‘Papa, take a picture of me with Lluvia.’ and she was smiling! Now she is always happy, smiling, and full of love,” said Tomas.
Now, Alejandra is 17 years old and full of hope for her future. She said, “Tomas has taken me to the doctor and has taken good care of my health. We get to go to school and we are encouraged to study all the way to university so that we can have a career. I know that I wouldn’t have any of this without Kids Kingdom.”
Best of luck Alejandra! We are proud of you!