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One Student’s Dedication to Rise Above Poverty Through Education
Unity 4 Orphans is proud to share the story of one student from our ESL program in Nicaragua and inspired by children who are determined to rise above their circumstances through education and break the cycle of poverty.
ESL Student Overcomes Hardship to Attend University
Pahola Santana is a student in U4O’s English as a Second Language program and also attends a public university, where she must commute 30 miles each way daily via public transportation. She lives with her parents and two brothers, and they are a close family. Her mother cleans homes as often as she can, and her father works hard to provide, but it is a constant struggle to find enough work to support the family. With basic necessities being difficult to come by, extra expenses tied to education are beyond the family’s means.
Program Psychologist Advocates for Assistance with Education Expenses
Unity 4 Orphans’ program psychologist Greyddyn Rodriguez shared the need that Pahola has to help continue her education, and it has opened our eyes to the perseverance and determination of this particular student. For many university classes in Nicaragua, course materials are obtained on a weekly basis to allow students to pay for them from their meager family incomes.
For Pahola, some weeks there just isn’t enough money to afford these materials, making her unable to complete assignments or participate in group projects. These factors affect her performance in class, and the commute to and from school adds to the financial burden.
“Pahola has stood out for being a committed and responsible student in the program, and despite her limited resources, she is an excellent student.”
Family Struggles to Cover Costs for School
Pahola and her family must shoulder the cost of transportation, course materials, and other basic needs to help her get through her long, busy school days, but they struggle to do so. It’s not uncommon for her to skip meals and borrow materials from classmates when she can, to afford a better life for herself and her family.
Despite these hurdles, she continues to work hard and keep up her hope for the future. Since childhood, she has dreamed of taking her parents and two siblings to a restaurant to eat a meal, and dreams like this motivate her to keep striving for an education.
We also recognize that for a 19-year-old, this ongoing pace is difficult to maintain and many students in her position would feel the effects of burnout and overwhelm, and give up. Pahola’s character stands out, which is why we’re sharing her story with you today.
“I want to improve myself . . . I have many ideas and when I get a job and am earning a living, I would love to help low-income families, especially the elderly and children.”
Showing Love and Instilling Value in Vulnerable Children Builds Self-Confidence
Although her university education is outside of Unity 4 Orphans’ ESL program, coming alongside this admirable student is at the core of our mission to provide holistic care for the children that we serve. Making sure that Pahola has what she needs to continue advancing toward a degree, and in the future, a well-paying career to support herself and her family is one poignant example of why we do what we do.
“When I started in the program I felt less than others . . . but over time, I learned and have interacted with new people with good hearts . . . Thanks to the [psychologist] in the program, my shyness and fear have been removed . . . it will help me in my future, because I will be bilingual and that will open many doors and I will be able to teach what I have learned.”
We humbly ask you to join us in supporting a brighter future for Pahola, and other hardworking students, as they strive to raise themselves and their loved ones out of difficult circumstances. They inspire us every day to continue the work we’re doing, and none of this would be possible without the support of our awesome community.
If you haven’t been introduced to the precious children in our program, what are you waiting for? Click below to meet a child in need and help change a life!