Hello all, we hope your holidays are shaping up to be happy and stress-free! Our early Christmas present this year is to welcome a new student to our family: Mirielle Nelichica Rivien, from Haiti!
Mirielle is 13 years old, the eldest daughter of her family of four children and she is in 8th grade. She used to live in the neighborhood of Carrefour Feuille, in Port au Prince, but earlier this year gangs set fire to her house. The family lost everything they owned and ended up on the street. They barely have a shelter in the town square and there are not many people around to provide protection, so it was very dangerous for teen-aged Mirielle, who suffered some things that no one should ever have to suffer.
Our friend Claudine has taken Mirielle into her home, where several people already live. In addition to Claudine, her husband, and her two children, Claudine’s sister Achecaina (Achou) and another neighborhood child named Mina also live there. But Claudine wants to protect Mirielle as best she can, and since Mirielle’s family can’t pay for her to go to school, Claudine applied for a scholarship. The board at ONE feels, along with Claudine, that the best thing Mirielle could be doing is going to school and finding some sense of normalcy. Claudine says that Achecaina and Mina love having her there, and Achecaina is able to help her with schoolwork, since Mirielle is a little behind due to her circumstances. We are paying for Mirielle to get some extra tutoring as well, to help her catch up.
Claudine is so dedicated to helping these girls that when she and her husband were forced to move out of their home, they looked only for a home in the same neighborhood, so that Mirielle, Achecaina, and Mina could stay in the same school. We are happy to be able to help Claudine support Mirielle, and happy to give Mirielle something to look forward to every day, and perhaps a path to a brighter future. Please read her letter to us on her page. It’s very sweet and a little heartbreaking.
Christa and Meghan will be in Nicaragua for part of December, to visit all our students, and to celebrate with Michel her university graduation! It saddens us greatly that we can’t attend the actual ceremony, but we are going to celebrate big time beforehand! This young woman has overcome so many obstacles, including having to leave school in the middle of last year so that she could take care of her ailing father. We are so proud of her that she is getting her teaching credentials; she hopes to find a job teaching primary school in El Sauce so she can be close to her family.
Michel’s story, and so many others, reminds us that often the only thing standing in the way of finishing one’s education or accomplishing one’s dreams is not laziness, or lack of willingness to try. Sometimes it is a very simple thing: the money to pay for school.
We are so glad to be in the position to give young women like Mirielle and Michel the support they need to move forward, to overcome sometimes terrible circumstances and to know that their dreams are worth something—that they themselves are worth something. We could not do this without all of you! Thank you so much for the donations you provide that keep us and our students moving forward. We are so grateful. And since today (Tuesday, November 28) is Giving Tuesday, please consider passing along our information to anyone who is looking for a worthy cause for a donation.
At the very least, please point people to our website and let people know they can sign up for our blog as a way to learn more. If you’re reading this, you know that our blog only comes out on Tuesday, and only when one of us has the time to write something (which is sometimes weeks or months apart!). And we NEVER give out any of your information to anyone else. Ever!
The happiest of holidays to all of you; Meghan and Christa will be home in mid-December with lots more news and photos about all of our Nicaraguan students—past and present (and who knows, maybe even future)!
Birgit, Christa, Janeece, Leslie, and Meghan