EQUIPPED FOR A BRIGHT FUTURE
In the community of Apopa in San Salvador, many hard-working parents wake up early and go to work to bring home the daily bread to their families’ table. That was the case for Johana Menjivar, a single mom with two children living there in an urban-poor area, where she had many different jobs to help her children and her own mother who also lives with them.
In February 2018, after a whole year of running fevers and feeling weak to the point of not being able to dress by herself, she made the decision to go to the doctor. She recalls that hard moment with tears and disappointment, “When the doctor told me I had HIV, I didn’t want to believe him. It just couldn’t be possible, but it was true.”
She explains, “I had to stop working and my brother, who has been like a father to my children, supported me, my mom and my youngest son Julian.” After a month of keeping the news to herself, she finally told her 17-year-old son Julian about the situation. He was shocked and confused, “I didn’t know what to do but to pray to God who is in control of our situation and my mom’s health.”
At the age of 3, Julian was enrolled at the Compassion Child Development Center ES0715 “Iglesia del Nazareno El Tikal” church which has been operating in the community since 1998, welcoming beneficiaries and providing them support in the main development areas such as spiritual, physical, social and emotional.
Julian received is the opportunity of being sponsored, which in his words has been a special experience. “My sponsor has been with me since 2013. I get very excited to receive his letters and gifts, he supports me and during this difficult time, the words and Bible verses he shares have encouraged me a lot,” Julian says.
"... he supports me and during this difficult time, the words and Bible verses he shares have encouraged me a lot."
Johana feels proud of her son Julian because he has been responsible and diligent with school and his project attendance, “My son is very smart, and he has learned so much at church. He is not as rebellious as I was, he makes good choices and joined many workshops that have allowed him to generate income to help our family.”
Among the workshops that Julian joined are bakery and the most recent one called “White Line”, which consists of teaching youths to repair white line appliances, such as refrigerators, washing machines, air conditioners, and stoves. In the White Line workshop, Julian has discovered an activity that keeps him moving forward, “I like the things I’m learning in the workshop because I can repair appliances that are broken. The first thing I learned to repair was refrigerators, then I moved to washing machines. I like this workshop because it is fun and there is a lot to learn about.”
“I want to help my mom and make her proud as much as possible, I want to see her well and happy,” says Julian as he covers his face because of the tears. “I want my son Julian to continue studying, to be the architect he wants to become. I may not be able to see that, but I’ll be here for him, loving and supporting him as long as I can,” says Johana with a moved heart. Julian is not HIV positive, and continues to help support his family through his appliance repair income.