Far away from Human Rights, Christmas 2001
Denied U.S. Visa for Lifesaving Surgery
Jerden's father died last year of Congestive Heart Failure due to Rheumatic Heart Disease. He died because of lack of money to finance his surgery. One year later, Jerden's mother writes, telling us how thankful she is because her daughter is still alive. The doctors at Montefiore Medical Center, New York are anxiously awaiting for Jerden's arrival for her corrective heart surgery on January 8, 2002 - but a "Christmas Gift" was given from a Consular Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Manila. He stopped the ongoing lifesaving action for Jerden and robbed her of her right to live and enjoy a normal life. Remarkable is also the way how power was used against a mother in a terrible situation like Eden Sampang.
When will some representative of the U.S. ministry for foreign affairs, contact her for an apologize?
Dr. Issenberg at Montefiore Medical Center N.Y. just approved Jerden's chart.
November 13, Tue, 17:25:08 -0800 (PST) , Jerden's mother, Eden Sampang, writes:
Hi! I am happy to let you know that Jerden will be celebrating her birthday on November 18, 2001. She is turning two years old and I'm so happy because with the grace of our Lord she is still with me and her older sister. Although she still weighs 17 kilos and is considered to be malnourished, her pediatrician informed me that Jerden is an active little girl and now talks a lot.
Right now, Jerden is still taking Digoxin(Lanoxin) syrup, Diltiazem and Furosemide (Lasix) tablets.
I would also like to inform you that we already have our passports! May I ask what else do you think do I need to do?
Thank you for your help in extending the life of my daughter! sincerely, eden
November 19, Mon, 21:07:19 -0800 (PST), Jerden's mother, Eden Sampang, writes:
Dear Bo, Thank you so much for your e-mail! Yes, I am interested to write a diary for the BOES.ORG web. Jenny Montojo already sent me email and also offered me an assistance, she is indeed a very nice person though I haven't seen her personally.
By the way Erica has finally informed me that Jerden's surgery date is on January 8, 2002! It is the Best gift Jerden has ever received! I truly believe that in every desert of trial God has an oasis of comfort.
Thank you and God Bless. Eden
November 19. At the same time, from Erica Topp, secretary, Gift of Life Foundation of Rotary District 7490, New Jersey, U.S:
"Date of Surgery, for Jerden Sampang. Scheduled to January 8, 2002".
November 22, Thu, 17:01:42 -0800 (PST), Jerden's mother, Eden Sampang, writes:
Dear Erica/Bo ! Until now I still can't believe that the foundation has finally granted my request. I am so overwhelmed! At last, now I am more than confident that everything will be alright for my daughter.
I would also like to inform you that Ms. Jenny Montojo has been getting in touch with me. She's been very accommodating and helpful in sharing her experiences in the States. She has also been giving some information and tips on things I should do in processing "everything"once our visas arrive and also upon our arrival there.
I consider these all "Blessings" because I'm not expecting that people who are strangers to me are helping me in saving my daughter's life.
When my husband died I thought everything will fall apart and it will be very hard for me to bring my family back. I asked God's guidance and strength.
December 10, Mon, 20:04:37 -0800 (PST), Jerden's mother, Eden Sampang, writes:
I would also like to share with you my happiness about the help my employer, the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) officials and employees are extending in raising funds for Jerden. This is truly amazing and overwhelming knowing that Iam not alone in my fight with my daughter's predicament.
December 14, Fri, 22:27:11 -0800 (PST), Jerden's mother, Eden Sampang, writes:
Iam so happy by your update and upon knowing that we already have our host family. I am so touched that everything is settled for our arrival. By the way, I have already e-mailed and introduced myself to Mr. and Ms. Romeo and Herietta Abennoja.
So far away from International Agreements, signed by 191 States.
Christmas 2001, Wed, 26 Dec, 22:33:37 -0800 (PST), Jennifer, since November working for BOES.ORG Children's Rights Across the World, writes:
Dearest Andy, Erica & Bo,
Eden Sampang called me today and informed me that the US Embassy denied her and Jerden's visas. It is totally shocking for a consular officer to say the following inhuman words: "US is not a charitable institution. If GOL can produce $5,000, why don't they just send the money here and have your daughter treated in a good hospital in the Phils. If your relatives and friends were able to raise the money for you airfare, then you can also ask then to raise fund for her surgery. No, you can't go to the US, never".
These administrative authorities whom we expect to consider primarily the best interests of the children in all of their actions are the ones who keep on robbing these children their rights to live and receive the best medical assistance.
What can we do to help her and the other GOL children? We should never allow this to happen again, it's time-consuming, costly to go back and forth the embassy. How to save the children with CHDs from poor countries?
They don't seem to understand (because they've closed their ears) that only the wealthy can afford a corrective heart surgery in the Phils. 500,000 pesos or $10,000 is impossible for an ordinary family to raise and local foundations and clubs like Rotary would not take part in it. So many have died of this disease and other diseases, the children are suffering because only a small portion of the national budget is appropriated for public health care. That's why we count on you to give us bright hope and future. You may not be able to sponsor all but as we spread the word about this humanitarian project, many will be inspired to do the same act of kindness to others.
Eden is terribly depressed and losing hope. Will we allow this to happen to other Lifeline mothers? Please write ASAP and tell me what to do.
December 27, Thu, 18:57:10 -0800 (PST), Jerden's mother, Eden Sampang, writes:
Thank you so much for your email and especially for listening. I terribly needed someone to talk to and who will listen. It's really different and hard, if Jerry would only be here... at present I'm still in deepest depression of what happened yesterday. I still cant' help but cry and think of what went wrong and how did the consul officer managed to disregard our application.
As if what and all he was saying wereall true and correct about me and my daughter. He was not "there" with us all the time in all fairness. He is not aware of my sufferings from day one until now... he doesn't know how to be a single parent, to take care of two kids when the other one needs more attention than the eldest whom I almost took for granted because I always say she can cope up since she's smarter, older and healthier though I know for a fact that she's only 5 years old and needs also my time and attention.
As a government employee, it's hard to divide and save money for the medication, check-up, milk and others.... He doesn't know because he's living in comfort...
Words are not enough to let you know how thankful I am for meeting you all!
December 27, Thu, 20:02:05 -0800 (PST), Jerden's mother, Eden Sampang, writes:
First, Thank you for exerting all effort in helping us! I have called Jenny minutes after my very brief interview with the Consular Officer at the US. Embassy. I still felt so lucky because she was there and willingly listened and advised me to stay put and not to worry. I am terribly depressed by the way the consul denied my application and his way of talking as if I have done something BAD to the US that we were not allowed to go. He told me to better ask help in the Philippines because US is not a charitable institution and since I have raised funds for our airfare why then should I not be able to raise money for Jerden's operation in the Philippines. I told him that I've already asked help but to no avail and that's the reason why I tried searching the Internet and came across Dajed's story in the newspaper that I have found the Children's Rights Across the World, and Rotary Gift of Life.
My husband died a year ago because of lack of money to finance his surgery here, though my husband was under the social welfare here, it was after almost 5 years of waiting that his turn to be operated was approved but his was body has already deteriorated and died a month before his scheduled operation through charity.
The embassy officer never listened.......... but he told me that it's not easy to believe and I cannot go to the US.
He also advised me to ask GOL to send the $5,000 here and have Jerden operated in the Phils. I told him that this is not the way the foundation works and having my child to be treated in the US is the best medical option we had. He also told me that there are children out there who better needed help than us.
I can never blame him maybe there are people who will lie to be able to go the US, but I was not. I did even tried showing him the emails I have compiled and the death certificate, he told me there's no use for it now.
It was just so painful to hear him say things which for him are true without giving me the chance to explain. Perhaps as the saying goes "sometimes when you tell the truth nobody listens and you'll be in hot corner."
I did what I just thought was right for my daughter in the fulfillment of Jerden's plight, but I was not given the chance to do so.
I would like to express my appreciation and heartfelt thanks to all of you! You've always been there, never turned us down! It's truly touching to know that you have never treated us differently! Thank you so much.
1. States Parties recognize that a mentally or physically disabled child should enjoy a full and decent life, in conditions which ensure dignity, promote self-reliance, and facilitate the child's active participation in the community.
2. States Parties recognize the right of the disabled child to special care and shall encourage and ensure the extension, subject to available resources, to the eligible child and those responsible for his or her care, of assistance for which application is made and which is appropriate to the child's condition and to the circumstances of the parents or others caring for the child.
3. Recognizing the special needs of a disabled child, assistance extended in accordance with paragraph 2 of the present article shall be provided free of charge, whenever possible, taking into account the financial resources of the parents or others caring for the child, and shall be designed to ensure that the disabled child has effective access to and receives education, training, health care services, rehabilitation services, preparation for employment and recreation opportunities in a manner conducive to the child's achieving the fullest possible social integration and individual development, including his or her cultural and spiritual development.
4. States Parties shall promote, in the spirit of international co-operation, the exchange of appropriate information in the field of preventive health care and of medical, psychological and functional treatment of disabled children, including dissemination of and access to information concerning methods of rehabilitation, education and vocational services, with the aim of enabling States Parties to improve their capabilities and skills and to widen their experience in these areas. In this regard, particular account shall be taken of the needs of developing countries.
2. States Parties shall pursue full implementation of this right and, in particular, shall take appropriate measures:
(a) To diminish infant and child mortality;
(b) To ensure the provision of necessary medical assistance and health care to all children with emphasis on the development of primary health care;
(c) To combat disease and malnutrition including within the framework of primary health care, through, inter alia, the application of readily available technology and through the provision of adequate nutritious foods and clean drinking water, taking into consideration the dangers and risks of environmental pollution;
(d) To ensure appropriate pre-natal and post-natal health care for mothers;
(e) To ensure that all segments of society, in particular parents and children, are informed, have access to education and are supported in the use of basic knowledge of child health and nutrition, the advantages of breast-feeding, hygiene and environmental sanitation and the prevention of accidents;
(f) To develop preventive health care, guidance for parents, and family planning education and services.
3. States Parties shall take all effective and appropriate measures with a view to abolishing traditional practices prejudicial to the health of children.
4. States Parties undertake to promote and encourage international co-operation with a view to achieving progressively the full realization of the right recognized in the present article. In this regard, particular account shall be taken of the needs of developing countries.
States Parties recognize the important function performed by the mass media and shall ensure that the child has access to information and material from a diversity of national and international sources, especially those aimed at the promotion of his or her social, spiritual and moral well-being and physical and mental health. To this end, States Parties shall:
(a) Encourage the mass media to disseminate information and material of social and cultural benefit to the child and in accordance with the spirit of article 29;
(b) Encourage international co-operation in the production, exchange and dissemination of such information and material from a diversity of cultural, national and international sources;
(c) Encourage the production and dissemination of children's books;
(d) Encourage the mass media to have particular regard to the linguistic needs of the child who belongs to a minority group or who is indigenous;
(e) Encourage the development of appropriate guidelines for the protection of
the child from information and material injurious to his or her well-being, bearing
in mind the provisions of articles 13 and 18.