Then and now: My life growing up in poverty

Then: A childhood of poverty

My childhood was difficult, because my parents separated when I was just 2. My father went to Barranquilla, Colombia, leaving my mother very sick.

Our economic situation wasn’t the best. [My mother] would take me every morning with her to her friends’ house where she would help them do the chores. As payment, they would give us food. Later, she worked as a maid with the condition that they would let her be with me. That’s how she took care of my needs. My maternal grandmother also supported us.

We lived in a community without many opportunities and with problems with safety, violence and sanitation.

What I remember with great admiration was the care and love that my mother always expressed to me, no matter what she was going through. I always yearned for the love of my father.

When I was 5, Children International came to my community. They enrolled me, and soon an angel appeared and sponsored me. Such happiness!

When I received my first gift, I was excited. Up until then, I didn’t know how important Children International would be in my life.

I happily received all of the gifts. As with the medical and dental care, the medicines were always available. All of that made me feel better and more secure.

This support and the love of my family helped make achieving my dreams easier. Seeing the sacrifices my mother made gave me the strength to keep moving forward and be able to change my life story. I always wanted to be a nurse, and Children International helped me to make that dream a reality.

Smile time: “Although I have a daughter and I’m a single mother, I can take care of her needs and help my mother,” explains Cindy happily.

Smile time: “Although I have a daughter and I’m a single mother, I can take care of her needs and help my mother,” explains Cindy happily.

Now: A dream come true

Thanks to God and Children International for giving me the opportunity to study through a HOPE education scholarship, now I’m a nursing assistant. I stood out as the best student because I really wanted it and I wanted to improve more and more each day.

Currently, I’m working as a nursing assistant for the second consecutive year. I feel really happy to have had Children International’s help, because they contributed to the realization of my dreams.

I was in the youth program. I participated in the workshops which really strengthened me. I learned that we can overcome [issues] if we really want to that poverty can be overcome, to value ourselves as people, to have a life project and to set goals for ourselves. I had a lot of fun playing, sharing in group, being tolerant and responsible.

This program helped me clarify my goals and strive to achieve them, no matter the difficulties that get in the way.

Having studied nursing and practicing it, means changing my life story a story full of love, but also with many economic necessities.

Now my life is different. Although I have a daughter and I’m a single mother, I can take care of her needs and help my mother. My future goal is to continue on with becoming a professional in my career, to offer my daughter a good future, never forgetting to give her love. To help my family, my mother, my stepfather (who gave me a father’s love) and my siblings from whom I have always received unconditional love and who give me the strength to move forward.

My dream: become a head nurse or teacher of young children.

I want to serve people and work with boys and girls.

Thank you, Children International and sponsors. God bless you.

Photos and reporting assistance by Marelvis Campo, CI field reporter Barranquilla.