By Juan Rene, now 20 and both a former sponsored child and CFCA scholar in Honduras.
Since I was a child, I always told myself I would never forget CFCA.
It was directly involved in my development for 10 years, supporting me with education, clothing and nutrition to give my world faith and hope, transforming my mind into something useful to my family and society.
In my childhood I lived in Colonia la Trinidad, one of the poorest neighborhoods of Tegucigalpa along the banks of the Choluteca River.
After five months, a hurricane left my family and me on the streets, sweeping away what my mother had constructed as a single mother.
With my brothers, Edwin, 4, and Moises, 5 months, in 1998 we moved to a shelter closer to where my mother was working when the hurricane hit our community.
Months later, a volunteer at the CFCA project in Suyapa, Fanny, arrived at our home and determined I was eligible for sponsorship.
During 1999-2002, we lived in Trebol. I finished primary school full of enthusiasm, knowing I could count on my sponsor’s assistance.
Her faithful support provided me with new shoes and a school uniform every year, food, Christmas celebrations and other benefits that only CFCA could provide for me in spite of living in a place without love, with much violence and above all, in extreme poverty.
Upon leaving school well-trained with excellent grades, I started at a community technical school, always maintaining my relationship with my sponsor.
I turned in my letters regularly and kept my grades up.
During this time I was a leader in the community, helping volunteer with the New Yearís lectures on the projectís anniversary and at Christmas.
I helped with caring for sponsored aging and special-needs children, since my brother suffered from hydrocephalus (a buildup of fluid inside the skull, causing brain swelling).
The years 2006-2007 were one of the toughest, but also most important, stages of my life.
I began my bachelor of science in education. In this year, I became part of the CFCA Scholar Program.
A CFCA social worker sent me to the CFCA office to do my community service.
The project also taught us to make an expense budget to track our educational expenses, and this helped us be more responsible.
At the end of 2007, my mother received a diagnosis of advanced stage of cervical cancer.
She was very worried that she would not be able to help her three children: me, 17; Edwin, 13; and Moises, 9. Holy God! What to do!
The mothers of sponsored children at the project helped my mother fix food, wash my brothersí clothes and generally make my mother happy.
I finished my year of education, and my mother continued her chemotherapy and radiation treatments.
In 2008, a year of challenges, I started at the National University of Agriculture and Livestock in Catacamas after graduating.
I finished two trimesters in Olancho, but my dream was to attend the agricultural school at the Universidad Panamericana El Zamorano.
One day, I decided to call and ask for an admission test and did everything I could to obtain a scholarship to this prestigious university, where one year of tuition costs $15,000!
This was a challenge. For a time, I told myself I shouldnít go and walk away from the state university scholarship.
October came, the month when I had to confirm my admission to whichever university I would be attending.
The government did not give me a scholarship for Zamorano because I already had one to the public university.
My mother’s cancer was advancing, and I didn’t know what to do. Meanwhile, I taught classes at night to earn some income.
In 2009 I was accepted at Zamorano with a scholarship.
It was due to the art of questioning and persistence that the Zamorano scholarship department called me three times and told me:
- Hello. Who is this kid we want to have here at Zamorano?
- Juan, if I told you that you were coming to Zamorano, what would you do?
- Juan Rene, the best agricultural university in Latin America is waiting for you.
My mother died a few days after I started at the university in 2009. I am now on the verge of becoming an engineer in agricultural administration.
I am very happy to have been directly part of CFCA. The day is not far when I will return something as someone who is prepared in society.
My dream is to support a child in the sponsorship program so I can offer the same opportunity one day that someone gave to me.
Editor’s note: Read more about Juan Rene’s story on our website!