Yenny is a mom of two young boys in the Dominican Republic.

She is the sole provider in their home and suffers from sickle-cell anemia. Providing for her children has never been easy. But when her youngest son was registered with Compassion, everything changed.

The road to community and job skills training

When a friend first took Yenny’s youngest son, Geremy, to the local Compassion centre to be registered in the Survival program, Yenny knew his life would change forever. But what she didn’t realize was that her life was about to change, too.

Yenny and Compassion staff member Rosina.

Yenny and Compassion staff member Rosina.

Yenny first heard about Compassion’s Survival program at her local church when she was pregnant with her first son, Jeremias. She wanted her son to be a part of the Compassion centre. She saw it as a beacon of light in the darkness.

At the Compassion centre, he would learn about Jesus and see a life beyond his environment. Ultimately, she hoped it would give him the help he needed to thrive.

But when she missed the opportunity to register Jeremias in the program because he was beyond the registration age, Yenny didn’t think she’d ever have another opportunity to be a part of it.

Yenny and her son, Geremy, lie down, smiling at one another.

Yenny and her youngest son, Geremy.

“When I was told my son could not be registered at the centre because of his age, I was mad. The truth is that I kept a lot of resentment in my heart without imagining that God’s plans were to give me a second child,” says Yenny.

“Literally, without Survival, Geremy would not be alive today.”

Soon Yenny would have a second child, Geremy, who would give them this life-changing opportunity that she so sought. It was an opportunity that would go beyond supporting the survival of her sons: it would empower her to unlock her potential to be a provider for her family.

But Yenny’s journey here wouldn’t be without its challenges.

Boy laying down on a mattress

Yenny’s youngest son, Geremy.

A devastating diagnosis

As a baby, Geremy was constantly falling sick. When things didn’t seem to get better, Yenny took him to the doctor, only to receive the devastating news that her son was suffering from parasites. Geremy had a severely inflamed colon and perforated intestine.

“At Survival, I learned how to manage my baby’s hygiene, and I was sure I took good care of him. I felt devastated when doctors told me about my son’s condition. But I was not alone,” says Yenny.

“From transportation, studies, analysis, consultations, medicines, special food for him and the family, emotional support and so many things, the centre was always there with me. Literally, without Survival, Geremy would not be alive today.”

Yenny is sitting and working on a mattress-- a skill she learned through job skills training at her Compassion centre.

Yenny working on making a mattress— a skill she learned through job skills training at her Compassion centre.

Hope through job skills training

As Geremy’s health improved, Yenny’s started to decline. Living with a health condition called sickle-cell anemia, Yenny faces many challenges, including severe pain episodes.

On top of Geremy’s health concerns, this was certainly too much for any mother to bear. But Yenny didn’t let it deter her. She knew that to survive these challenges and give her sons a chance at a better life, she would need to stand strong and put her faith in God to do the impossible.

And God did. Soon, Yenny got the opportunity to learn new job skills at the Compassion centre.

Yenny is hemming a mattress— a skill she learned through job skills training.

Yenny is hemming a mattress— a skill she learned through job skills training.

“I always liked to create, design and repair things. So, this was the perfect opportunity to learn a new skill that would help me to do all of that. Besides, they told me that I could get income from the work of my hands,” says Yenny.

Yenny took on the upholstery course. Here, she learned to work with textiles, make furniture and cushions and repair and make mattresses. This helped her generate income to provide for her family.

Rosina, the course’s instructor, noticed Yenny’s determination immediately.

“Yenny was my best student. She was very dedicated, which surprised me because I knew that her life was very difficult. Even so, she continued without stopping until she succeeded excellently,” says Rosina.

Hemming a path forward

Yenny excelled so much that Rosina made her the right-hand woman of the class: the on-call assistant. Together, they repair and make mattresses to give to the children at the centre who don’t have a comfortable place to sleep—including her own two sons.

“My children slept on a thick quilt that had been given to me, and thanks to this course and the support of the centre, I made my own children’s mattresses. The centre provided all the materials. I was able to make with my hands the mattresses where my children sleep, study…and even jump,” says Yenny.

“Now I can sleep comfortably, and my body no longer hurts when I wake up. My mom makes the best mattresses in the world.”

Now nine years old, Geremy is a strong student and loves to play with his friends at the centre, as well as with his older brother, Jeremias. He does his homework diligently, learning from his mother’s example of hard work and perseverance. And he’s grateful for his mother’s mattress-making skills.

“Now I can sleep comfortably, and my body no longer hurts when I wake up. My mom makes the best mattresses in the world,” says Geremy.

Boy jumping on the bed laughing.

Geremy jumping on a mattress that his mother made.

Yenny is filled with gratitude and pride. It was her own two hands that built the mattresses where her children lay their heads today and dream for tomorrow. And it brings her much joy knowing that her boys will treasure this in their hearts as well.

Yenny hopes that her sons continue to learn about Jesus at the centre. She prays that they would learn to put their trust in God, just as she has in her own life.

“The only thing I want is for my children to study, to be good men and to serve the Lord,” she says.

It’s the deep desire of a mother who gives everything for her children.

Yenny and her two boys, Geremy and Jeremias, read the Bible on the mattress she made.

Yenny and her two boys, Geremy and Jeremias, read the Bible on the mattress she made.

Moms play a key role in breaking the cycle of intergenerational poverty. An empowered mom is more likely to make informed and independent decisions regarding her own family and finances. She is more likely to play a greater role in intra-household decisions, especially in issues involving her child’s education and overall development.

With the gift of Job Skills Training, you can provide a mom with the tools she needs to provide for her family.

Give today


Field reporting and photography by Yrahisa Mateo.

Rayo Adegoke

Rayo Adegoke

Rayo Adegoke is a Content Specialist at Compassion Canada. She is deeply passionate about telling stories that testify of God's goodness. Between read alouds, sing alouds, cutting crusts off sandwiches and playing hide and seek with her daughter, she loves to bake with her husband.