The following are a few of the stories of youth who are now participating in education or entrepreneurship opportunities through the Work for Success program:
When Karla was six years old, her father abandoned the family, leaving them without resources to pay rent or buy food. Their only option was to build a makeshift home of sheet metal and wood in a bad part of town. As they grew up, Karla and her siblings all became involved in illegal activities. At 16 years old, she entered the juvenile detention center for girls.
She was full of hate and anger and became well-known for her bad attitude and violent behavior. She openly mocked the Orphan Helpers teachers and the Gospel regularly. Finally, she decided to enroll in the Success Academy with the hope of a shortened sentence. That’s where she learned about Jesus and a different way of life.
Karla was released after three years behind bars. However, she thought the only way she was going to be able to support her mom and herself was by returning to illegal activity. On the bus ride home, though, she heard God remind her, “I will not leave you or forsake you. I know the plans I have for you.” She remembers that she couldn’t stop thinking about God’s unconditional forgiveness and love. So, she decided to put it into action.
Soon after her release, Karla took a ten-hour bus trip to meet her dad and tell him how God transformed her life. Because of God’s grace to her, she wanted also to forgive her dad. Karla’s father cried tears of joy to be reunited with his daughter whom he abandoned 14 years earlier.
Today, Karla is a vital part of her local church where she helps the pastor teach and reach out to people in her community. She also has set a goal to enroll in a university program to study engineering. First, she needs to get her high school diploma. Even though public school is free for Karla, the cost of transportation, books, uniforms and other school supplies make it extremely difficult for her. Orphan Helpers has awarded her a “Work for Success” high school scholarship to cover these costs so she can graduate.
While Nissi was behind bars, she was a
star student in the beautician workshops. Upon
release, she worked hard to start her own beauty business by going house to house to provide services. Despite her talent and strong work ethic, her business didn’t work out. She decided to enroll in the entrepreneurship course to learn more about running a business to support herself. She says, “I now understand why my business wasn’t successful. I’ve learned that everything I earn isn’t profit for myself. I need to put money back into the business to make it grow.”
Edwin is intelligent, hard-working and determined to succeed. Since his release, he has worked at a clothing factory and at a barber shop. For years, the Orphan Helpers team has been faithfully investing in Edwin ́s life, providing him with counseling, mentorship and some hair-cutting supplies to work as a barber. In May 2021, Edwin began the entrepreneurship course with Orphan Helpers. Edwin now sees that in order to start a business without debt, he should earn his own capital and build up a business slowly. So, he’s saving money from his current jobs before he opens the doors to his own barber shop.