Roxana moved her family’s mirror from inside the house to the porch. She decorated the top with balloons and crafts. She swept the porch and placed a table with beauty products under the mirror with a plastic chair. She was ready for the first client at her beauty salon.
Roxana Vallejos is registered in a Compassion centre in Nicaragua in a community with few opportunities for work.
“The community where the centre is located has a very low economic level,” said Karla Zambrana, the director of Roxana’s centre. “Parents have unstable jobs. Many of them work at factories; others sell fruits and snacks at the market.”
Roxana’s father passed away, leaving her mother alone to provide for her. So her mother left the country three years ago to look for a job to provide for those she left behind. In her house, there are nine people, only one of whom has a job earning money.
The need to work forces many children to abandon school. They start working in informal jobs that don’t pay enough, and the cycle continues.
Roxana’s mother made sure her daughter never stopped studying, however.
“I love studying,” Roxana said. “I remember, when I was around 5 years old, I used to iron my uniform and my grandma walked me to school while mom was at work. I always did well in class.”
“My dream is to become a professional, finish university and continue in God’s way,” she said.
Roxana has taken advantage of her love for studies. Through Compassion’s Response Funds, she has taken beauty and English vocational courses.
“The beauty vocational course is already a benefit to me because people ask me to do manicures, pedicures, hair, etc. English is also important because I will be able to translate for people who visit our church and sponsors,” she said.
Without Compassion, such classes would be out of reach for these students. “None of the families could afford an English or beauty course like these. The cost per person per month is around $120—an amount parents don’t have,” said Karla.
When Roxana’s beauty course was completed, the group began an entrepreneurship workshop. They formed groups to create and present a business plan. There was a $150 prize for the winning group. Creativity, marketing strategies, customer service and cost management were some of the elements evaluated. Roxana’s group won the prize and are excited to use their skills to earn a little income.
Roxana is using her new skills to reach her long-term goals.
“My dream is to become a professional, finish university and continue in God’s way so He can help me do what I want, which is to help others. I would like to study psychology. I already advise my friends and listen to them when they need me,” she said.
Roxana is earning a little income here and there, and Roxana says the feeling is incredible.
“I don’t have to ask grandma to buy something for me; now I give her a little of what I make.”
“I hope donors know that I’m doing my best to do well in these vocational classes. I envision myself to become a professional stylist,” said Roxana.
Story by: Orfa Cerrato, Compassion Nicaragua