Sofia Chicaiza

WHAT’S HAPPENING NOW WITH SOFIA CHICAIZA? In April Sofia began her 6th and final semester as a student at the Instituto Superior de Estética Integral. She has persevered and succeeded against great odds. Last semester she missed several weeks of school because of appendicitis and still completed all her work for the semester successfully. Her children continue to do well and if all goes reasonably well, she will finish her degree in cosmetology in September. It is a truly remarkable achievement and attests to her strength of mind, will, and heart. 

Sofía graduated from high school in late July! In September she will enter the Instituto Superior de Estética Integral to study cosmetology. She is seeking to obtain a divorce from the man who is the father of her children and who has threatened her repeatedly. Sofía is courageously confronting this dangerous situation, and we hope that she will be able to move forward in her education.

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 they owned and borrow much more to pay for the needed 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. We met Sofia when she was a 16 year old in eighth grade, a very good student, and a warm, engaging person.

Sofia left the Center, pregnant with her first child Marjorie in 2005. She persevered and got a credential to work in beauty salons. She did not return to school, but concentrated on raising her daughter. She had a second child Alison by the same father in 2008. After suffering abuse and domestic violence, she decided in 2010 to return home and live with her parents. The Fund decided to support her in this decision and to help her continue her education. She is now a junior in high school, studying at night. Last year, her first year back in school, her grade average was 18 of 20, which is very good. Sofia wants to study cosmetology after high school and have her own beauty shop. Despite the difficult circumstances of her life, she has been a fabulous mother; her children are intelligent, friendly, and incredibly creative.

Marc Vallone, Alison, Marjorie reading, Maggie

Marc Vallone, Alison, Marjorie reading, Maggie

Update: On April 13, 2012, Sofia had her third child, a son named David. She has continued to attend school during her pregnancy and continues to do well. Her daughter Marjorie is attending a good kindergarten, thanks to generous donors to the Foundation, and is beginning to read and write.  During this time, Sofia has received real support from our other students, who visit and call her regularly.

Update: July 9, 2012. Despite having a baby in April, Sofia complete her junior year in high school. Her practice work as an accountant in June was especially successful. At the end of her 4 week stay, the business for which she was working offered her a permanent job. It has been an extraordinary accomplishment for Sofia to have continued her education successfully.  Here are Sofía’s thoughts: “Lo que yo pienso sobre la ayuda que cada uno de Usteded 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.)