Silvia Tlaxcala Xicalhua



Family Economics:
Mother makes vases from lumps of clay (see picture in gallery). She pays $50 pesos for each lump of clay, and each lump of clay yields 2 vases, which she then sells for 60 pesos. It takes Antonia half a day to make a vase, which means that if she sells it, she will earn 35 pesos for a half days work.


Description of Illness:
Silvia’s parents have always believed that she was a deaf-mute, but Silvia did not receive a proper diagnosis. She might be “legally deaf,” to use the technical term, but it would be more accurate to say that she has very severely impaired hearing. Because she could not hear, she never learned to talk. She only makes grunts. But recently, some time after her 6th birthday, someone discovered that she had some vestigial hearing and recommended therapy.




Treatment Required

Silvia's parents, who live in a rural mountain village near Atlahuilco, are now taking her to the nearest city, Orizaba, for treatments at the "Rehabilitation Center" associated with Universidad Veracruzana, but with their extremely limited family economy, they can not afford the bus trips and have had to settle for occasional visits rather than the frequent visits that the doctor ordered.

When Silvia is able to attend therapy sessions, she receives:

· Sign language training

· Speech therapy

· Basic education

Prior to the therapies, she had never attended school.


Financial Need

Silvia's parents incur two costs related to her therapies: 

· $100 pesos per month in fees

· $180 pesos per trip in bus tickets and other trip expenses

The bus trip is slow and the Tlaxcala family has to change buses several times. Bus tickets for the entire round trip add up to about $100 pesos and the trip absorbs an entire day, so Antonia loses a day of work and the income from that. Furthermore, they must spend about $80 pesos on food, unless they decide to just go without, which they often do. Thus the total cost for a single trip is $180. World Vision donates $60 pesos per month to these expenses, but the doctor wants Silvia to take multiple treatments per week. This kind of expense is way beyond the financial reach of the Tlaxcala family, even with the help they receive from World Vision.



John Strong

Comments by John Strong

I personally visited the home of Silvia. She is a delightful child with an enormous amount of unrealized potential that may never be realized if she does not get the proper therapies. During my visit Silvia ran all over her family's small plot with me in tow, eager to show me her swings and her family's plants and and animals. She cannot talk, so she does a lot of grunting and pointing. But she can certainly laugh and her laughter is contagious!

The World Vision staff knows Silvia's family well, because they benefited from a program that World Vision launched to supply water tanks (tinacos) to families that did not have water during dry months. In the course of their many activities, World Vision workers come to know the families they serve quite well and are able to identify which families are the most needy. At my request, the World Vision project leader, Lázaro introduced me to Silvia and her family. 


Lázaro Martinez



Comments by Lázaro Martinez 

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Photos of Silvia

Photo Gallery: Silvia as a Child



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