A young leader shares the hardships she has encountered. February 22, 2017 - Dominican Republic
An empowered woman
My name is Jacqueline* and I am 19 years old. When I was eight years old, I was brought to NPH with two of my brothers. I am the only woman in my family; my mother passed away when I was very young, and we know nothing about our father. My brothers had to work to support our small family. My oldest brother died shortly after my mother, and as a result, my other brothers had to work during the mornings, and attend school in the afternoon.
After the death of my mother and my older brother, we faced extreme hardship. Amidst everything, we were welcomed into the NPH family, and our lives have forever been changed. We are very happy to be a part of the NPH family, I am proud to share that one of my brothers has started university, and in a few years he will graduate with a degree in accounting. I am currently in my last year of high school/secondary and in the future I would like to be a professional model.
My opportunities are limited here in the Dominican Republic, mainly because of the simple fact that I am a woman. I faced this harsh reality from a young age, and have encountered many barriers since then. Many times in the work force it is much more likely for a man to be hired than a woman, especially when high ranking officials and leaders are men. This is because many men still view women as property. It is not rare to see inter-family disputes and the abuse of a woman in our daily news.
NPH has formed an education-based program to empower and enable young women. It is called Chicas Poderosas (Girls' Empowerment) with the intention of teaching us how to be strong women, and to discover our own potential. They teach us to be proud of who we are and what we bring to the world; we are protectors and we are talented. I am actually the leader of this empowerment group. Even though I do not have any sisters of my own, I view every pequeña as my sister. My hope is that all of my sisters show respect and good manners, and above all, continue their education. I like that our group has a good dynamic, we share experiences freely and without judgment, and we do fun things together.
Through Chicas Poderosas I have learned to believe in myself and my abilities; I have learned my prowess and how to defend my rights as a woman and as a person. The challenges I face and even the ones I have yet to defeat have made me stronger than I was before. I am now ready to help others do the same.
I feel blessed by God for everything I have been given: food, an education, my NPH family, and especially Chicas Poderosas for guiding me to a confident future. I do not know where I would be without the help of NPH, the support of its leaders, and everyone who helps this family flourish.
Daniela Candelario Communication Officer
You may be only one person in the world, but you may be all the world to one child.
—Fr. William Wasson