The birth rate in El Salvador is 14 times higher than that in Germany. This means that in spite of a relatively small population of around seven million, several hundred children with congenital heart defects are born each year in El Salvador.
Without treatment, the majority of these children would die within the first years of life. Professor Christian Schlensak is a recognised expert in the field of surgical treatment of congenital heart defects. Under his leadership, several surgical teams have travelled from Germany to perform live-saving operations for these children. Professor Schlensak is very connected to the University of Santa Ana and brought the project to the attention of Mauritia Mack and Drying Little Tears. In order to promote the clinic's work for the long term, Professor Schlensak was asked to help build a home for patients' parents at the University of Santa Ana. Because of the geographical distance and lack of public transport, the parents of the sick children need somewhere to stay when their children are in hospital.
The hospital currently lacks accommodation, although it recognises how important it is for the children to have their parents with them during the difficult period of treatment. At the moment, the parents must either stay in the hospital's corridors or in their child's room for the duration of the treatment. This makes the delivery of care to the patients more difficult. The new accommodation will provide space for up to 15 parents at a time.
It also offers much-needed sanitary facilities for the parents. The proceeds from the ""Mauritia Mack by Leonardo"" jewellery collection have been used to support social projects since 2010.