Photo: Aliita

Carolina López Manzano didn’t set out to become a child-hunger activist. It just sort of happened.

The way she tells it, a few years back she was a normal middle-class Maracaibo mom, and though she’d always “liked to help”, the thought of starting a humanitarian foundation had never occurred to her.

But one day she heard about María del Carmen, a little girl who was five years old and weighed just 4 kg.

She looked like this:

María del Carmen, 5 years old, victim of severe malnutrition. 

The story broke her heart, so Carolina started asking people on social media if someone could donate a wheelchair to help her — because María del Carmén had cerebral palsy as well.

Then, without asking her, Carolina’s cousin posted photos of the girl on her Facebook page, alongside Carolina’s phone number. The post went a little bit viral in her community, and things got out of hand right away.

Hundreds of strangers started calling Carolina. “My voice was hoarse by the end of that week,” she tells me on WhatsApp, “because so many people called.”

The next thing she knew, her life had been transformed from standard Maracaibo mom to humanitarian relief network coordinator.

Three years on, Hanya Martínez and Bruna Brusut have joined Carolina to run Un Milagro de Amor. Together, the three of them scour Maracaibo and surrounding communities for children facing acute malnutrition or other medical crises. Then they do whatever they can to help.

When Milan-based Maracucha jewelry designer Cynthia Vilchez heard the story, she fell in love with the project right away. Like she does every year, she launched a holiday charity line through her brand, Aliita, with all proceeds going to Un Milagro de Amor. On her website, you can buy a lovely heart-themed gold necklace or bracelet with 100% of the proceeds going to Un Milagro de Amor.

María del Carmen, the girl who got this whole thing going, is going to be eight years old soon, and weighs 12 kg. Here she is, in Carolina’s arms, a few weeks ago:

Venezuela_HelpMaría del Carmen today: a much-improved soon-to-be eight year old. 

Un Milagro de Amor saved her life. Your Aliita bracelet or necklace can save more lives—and will look lovely under the tree, too.

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  1. I hope these ladies can stay under the radar. If Chavismo gets wind of this sort of benevolence, the shakedowns will start and this NGO will sputter to a stop. I’ve seen it happen before.

    The last time we were in Nicaragua fixing cleft palates (Mrs. Guapo) and repairing clinics (me), the local Sandinista alcalde held our building supplies for ransom (we had previously hidden our medical supplies in another town). We didn’t pay the “fee” (cash please) for (fill in the blank)… aka the bribe to the mayor.

    When we refused (a 50% tariff on already expensive supplies) he sent his henchmen around with guns. We refused to give in, and we literally left in the middle of the night when the locals warned us that we were going to be arrested in the morning and accused of rape (the men), and also theft from the local church.

    We haven’t returned to Nicaragua since. Fortunately, the Guatemalans and the Hondurans appreciate any help they can get.

    Marxists make a lot of noise about being “for the people”, but they are just Big Government bullies who aren’t afraid to use their dogma to shake down the little kid for his milk money.


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