Junior Nathanael recounts his evolution from illiterate street kid to grateful young man with hope for the future. September 20, 2019 - Dominican Republic
Before NPH, Junior was a young boy struggling to survive.
My life before joining the NPH family was not the most suitable one for a 9-year-old boy. I practically lived in the streets with a group of friends who were in the same situation as I was. We worked taking care of parked cars outside some shops and offices. In addition to this, we used to ask for money from tourists who visited a tobacco factory near our homes.
It was the easiest way to bring some money home to help my younger brothers and my mother with the basic expenses of the family. I remember that I had to work very hard during the time my mother had just given birth. Since my father had abandoned us before I was born, there was no one to support us. I don't remember him, but his absence was burden to the whole family.
In 2003 I had a horrible accident. One day while my friends and I were panhandling, a policeman tried to scare us away from a group of tourists. As I was fleeing, a water truck ran over my foot. As a result, I spent a month in the hospital. Sometimes the scar still hurts, though I feel fortunate to be able to walk and run normally.
It was then, while I was convalescing, that we heard about the possibility of being welcomed into this family. We were rescued, literally, when I was 11 years old. And I couldn't have been happier for my sister and brothers.
My younger brothers quickly adapted to our new life in NPH. For me it was difficult at first, because I missed my freedom and life in the neighborhood. I wasn’t used to following rules or having a routine; however, I began to have a new childhood with a suitable family, love, healthcare, education, and many other things that I previously lacked. And finally, we knew what it was like to have toys.
Something very important for me when I arrived at NPH was that I was able to start my studies. At the age of 11 I still could not read or write. The only thing I knew was numbers ... the cost and the price of the things we needed in the house.
I feel grateful for the great opportunity that life has given me and for being part of this great family.
I am Junior Nathanael and today I am 26 years old. That child who lived in the streets, who did not know how to read or write, finished his secondary studies and plans to complete his university studies.
Today I am a young man who, thanks to the internship program that NPH administers for its children, I am work as a documentation assistant for MSC Dominicana, a shipping company.
Thank God and NPH, today many of us have a story with an ending very different from how it started. We dream and strive for more. We keep moving forward.
Alba Pérez Communications Officer
You may be only one person in the world, but you may be all the world to one child.
—Fr. William Wasson