Five minutes with Kyla Joy

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Lovely Kyla Joy always lights up a room!

Tell us a little bit about your life in the Philippines…

Due to my previous surgeries and recovery back home, I have been living at Helping Hands Healing Hearts Ministries Philippines for over three years. It is an organisation that meets the needs of sick, impoverished children in Baguio City. I was referred to them by a wonderful Australian nurse, called Val Smith-Orr. She also referred me to Interplast (with whom I have had several surgeries in The Philippines) and Children First Foundation.

Tell us about why you are at Children First Foundation?

When I was 6 years old, my shirt caught on fire and I was severely burnt. I remember I poured the gas on our charcoal type stove, when the fire came up to my shirt, I felt my body burning. I started crying and ran up to my uncle trying to wake him up. He was so shocked, he grabbed one bucket of water and poured it on me. My grandma called an ambulance and a nurse to help, she was really nervous that time. I cried a lot because it was so painful. After that I lost consciousness and next I was in hospital.

I am at Children First Foundation to have more surgery for my burns.

Although I’ve had lots of operations in the Philippines, I am very hopeful of the surgery and treatment here in Australia. Australia will be much better than in the Philippines because here they have complete equipment to do my operation.

Hopefully, this time they can totally fix my lips and neck. I can’t wait to see the full results of my surgery.

What has it been like growing up with severe burns?

It’s been quite difficult for me growing up like this, having my burns because I experienced bullying, so I felt ashamed of myself. It was really hard for me to adjust. I wanted to just give up and die.

Thankfully, at my young age I learned to accept this incident that happened to me, because there are people who supported, encouraged and gave me the opportunity to have a better life than ever before.

What are your hopes for the future?

Currently, I’m in grade 7 and continuing my home schooling program while at The Retreat. My goal is to finish my studies and find a job. I want to help homeless and street children. I’d love to be a missionary when I grow up. I want to share gospel and word of God to people around the world. My big dream is to travel to different countries and to see the beautiful places around the world.

Tell us what you think about your time so far with Children First Foundation?

Well, I am really having a great time so far, making new friends who are becoming my other family! It’s fun making memories and learning together while waiting for our surgeries.

I didn’t expect that I’d have to stay here for too long, as I do now because of the pandemic. Even though things are delayed and uncertain, I am still so very blessed and thankful that I am here. The staff at The Retreat are amazing, they are so supportive and help us all feel at home, even if we are miles away from our countries.

If you’d like to help more children like Kyla Joy get the surgery they so desperately need, but cannot access in their home countries, please donate today.


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