Until she was 12 years old, Sofia lived on a small farm with her parents and her six brothers and sisters in the Andes south of Quito. When her mother needed extensive surgery for intestinal cancer, the family had to sell everything and borrow much more to pay several operations. Sofia, her father, and her four younger siblings moved to Quito to be near their mother as she recuperated. They had no money; so they had to live in the streets, selling candy to get enough to eat, sleeping at night under the stairs of apartment buildings. After a year, they joined the Working Boys’ Center and started their educations again.
How she became involved in DEOF:
Mike and Maggie met Sofia when she was in eighth grade. She was a very good student; a warm, engaging person. She was not able to complete her education at the WBC, facing a pregnancy from an abusive partner. When Mike returned to Quito and attended Gabriela’s and Veronica’s graduation, Mike offered Sofia support and set up weekly Sunday visits to check in with her and her (then 2, now 3) children, Marjorie, Alison, and Juan David.
How DEOF has helped:
Sofia’s primary concern was finishing high school. Mike and Maggie agreed to help her should she be able to earn a secondary school diploma. Sofia graduated from a night high school in 2014 and continued on to the Instituto Superior de Estetica Integral. There, she graduated in 2017, and DEOF covered tuition and cost of materials. Beyond this support, Sofia has this to say about DEOF:
“Lo que yo pienso sobre la ayuda que cada uno de Ustedes comparte conmigo es lo mas impresionante, ni siquiera me lo hubiera imaginado, nunca imaginé que algo así llegaría a mi vida. Dios me bendijo de la manera más impresionante con Ustedes, para que yo puedo realizar mis sueños de terminar mis estudios, y puedo criar mis hijos y protegerlos.”
“What I think of the help you all have shared with me is that it is very special. I could never have imagined that something like this would happen in my life. God has blessed me in an incredible manner with you so that I can realize my dreams of finishing my studies and raising and protecting my children.”