“You are no longer a poor orphan without a family, with nowhere to live or eat. You have things that the poor little ones don’t have. (Father William B. Wasson – Founder of NPH)
In 2012, my dad surprised me when he said that I would not be studying in my community’s high school. Instead, I would go attend another school in the town where he worked. I did not mind since he had already told me so many good things about that school.
My name is María José Castillo. I am currently one of the young university students who belongs to the great NPH Nicaragua family.
I come from a large family that includes my father and mother, plus my eight siblings and me. My father is a responsible man, yet he has not managed to get a job where he covers all of his children’s basic needs. However, he has always ensured that we never lacked food on our table. My father also made certain that his kids always had access to education, even when it was difficult.
My mother is a housewife who is the world’s best mom! Through her, I have learned that you must think of God before everything else. Also, I learned that every favor that we receive must be paid back, sometimes even doubled, but always with a smile.
I wasn’t surprised by the NPH school when I visited for the first time since it looked like a normal school. I adapted quickly to studying at NPH and soon made new friends. Everything was going well until one day when I heard my parents worrying that maybe they would not be able to pay the next school tuition. It made me very sad to think that maybe I would have to leave the NPH school.
Fortunately, the school granted me a full scholarship, with the condition that I keep up my good grades. Therefore, all through high school I worked hard to have high grades so that my parents would not have to worry again about my education.
After high school, I wanted to go to university. However, I knew my parents could not afford to pay for my classes. This is why I applied to NPH for support. Fortunately, it was granted, on condition that I first do one year of service at the Padre Wasson House facility.
When my year of service began, I really missed my parents, but I soon overcame it. They told me that changes in your life can produce positive results, although sometimes they can take you a long time to complete them. The year of family service at NPH requires a lot of study and also teaches you how to make responsible decisions about your future.
When I began university, I chose to major in Business Administration. Today, I am four months away from completing my university studies. I cannot forget all the hard work that it has taken me to get here, including all my sleepless nights studying, the struggle to understand difficult subjects and many other challenges.
During this long journey, I have never stopped visualizing my goal. My parents are very proud that I will be the first of their children with a college degree. I appreciate how difficult it has been for my parents to provide the best possible education for my siblings and I. They have taught us the importance of studying to get ahead in this changing and competitive society.
Before finishing, I really want to thank the family of Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos. They have taught, guided, and prepared me to become an empowered woman in society. I personally wish that women everywhere have the same economic opportunities as men, something that helps to promote gender equality. This will only be possible if we begin to instill these ideas within the family and teach our children that there is no single role that defines a man or a woman. We must treat each other equally so that each of us can develop themselves and be productive in our country.