When Jim and Sonia Watt were asked by a friend to fly to Columbia to an orphanage to treat 175 children and staff for head lice, they instinctively said “yes”—without knowing how they would fund the project.
The couple owns Lice Clinics of America® treatment centers in College Station and Tomball, Texas, and know how head lice can disrupt children’s lives. The orphanage, The Emiliani Project near Medellin, provides a loving home, meals, education and health care for orphaned and abandoned children. Its mission is to “protect, nurture and educate abandoned children so that they are able to live healthy and fulfilling lives.”
“These children have been orphaned and/or abandoned with backgrounds ranging from starvation, homelessness, drugs, violence, prostitution, and nearly all of them have head lice, and that’s where we come in,” Sonia said. “We started this business to help families through difficult times and felt called to accept this challenge.”
Jim and Sonia have started a GoFundMe campaign to help with expenses that they expect to reach $4,000. “It’s a leap of faith for us,” Jim said. “We are going to treat as many children as we can for head lice, and train as many older children and staff as we can to provide a long-term solution to this problem.”
Customs regulations prohibit the Watts from bringing the revolutionary AirAllé®, an FDA-cleared medical device clinically shown to kill live lice and eggs (nits) in a single session that takes about an hour. Instead, they’ll be removing head lice the old-fashioned way, with Lice Clinics of America’s topical solution—a non-toxic, pesticide-free gel—and combing out head lice and nits. Both solutions are guaranteed to be effective, but the topical treatment takes longer to perform.
“This is a ‘give a man a fish, and you feed him for one day; teach a man to fish and he can feed himself for life’ kind of project,” Sonia said. “The added benefit for the older children is that we’ll be teaching them a marketable skill as head lice are a persistent problem in every country.”
The couple decided to reach out for support as the cost of the journey mounted. “The trip ended up being much more expensive than we expected,” Sonia said. “As a result, we are reluctantly asking for help from friends, family, and anyone else who feels called to help.”
Jim and Sonia are committed to making the one-week trip, and hope funds will come in before, during and after their July 28 departure. “The motto of The Emiliani Project is ‘every child deserves a dream,’ and we support that 100 percent,” Jim said. “That’s one reason we started this business—to help families get rid of head lice with the safest, fastest solution available, and get back to their normal lives.”
For more information visit the following websites:
Lice Clinics of America College Station and Tomball
The Emiliani Project