|   Posted: September 07, 2017

With the help of Compassion and her sponsors, Rosa has moved from survival to dreaming.

Rosa Vega

With the help of Compassion and her sponsors, Rosa has moved from survival to dreaming.

Rosa serves as an inspiration to everyone around her

Home Country: Peru

Occupation: Fishing engineer studying for her doctorate in marine biology.

Life Goal: “My passion is really just to serve people in need. I also want to be an inspiration to girls in my country … that they can be whatever they dream of.”

As a child, Rosa had the terrible burden of keeping her mother’s mental illness a secret. It was only when she finally told the Compassion staff of the family’s situation that she was able to begin her journey to transformation.

Rosa's Secret

Rosa was just 9 years old when her mother was diagnosed with schizophrenia. She was hospitalized for three months, and when she came home, Rosa tried to take care of her.

“It was really bad,” says Rosa. “She was vomiting every time she ate, and we had to take care of making sure she took her pills.”

Rosa’s mother had more episodes, and her father decided he was unable to handle the burden of his sick wife, leaving his children alone and afraid.

“These were the most difficult months because we had to ask for money from other relatives and my mom was going through hard mood changes,” says Rosa. “She was happy and suddenly she was sad or angry. She wanted to commit suicide many times. Sometimes she was so strong that she could carry a refrigerator, and she used to burn our clothes. We only listened to her and said, ‘Easy, Mom, easy.’”

Because of the stigma attached to mental illnesses like schizophrenia, Rosa kept her mother’s condition a secret — not even telling the staff at the Compassion center she attended.

“During those years when my mom was really ill, I didn’t tell a word to anybody because I thought they wouldn’t understand what I was going through. I stayed in silence saying that every-thing was fine, but I knew I couldn’t be silent for long,” says Rosa.

But the letters she received from her sponsor, paired with the kindness the staff had always shown her, convinced Rosa that Compassion was a safe place for her to tell her family’s secret.

“In the letters, my sponsors always told me to show my beautiful smile; they sent me verses saying that everything turns out for good to those who love God; they encouraged me to do my best, to be well-planned. They were really passionate about my life,” says Rosa. “My relationship with my sponsors taught me not to hide my problems but to accept them and get rid of them. So I was released from shyness when I told my sponsors about the problems I had at home. God used them to help me in that way.”

Rosa also told her tutor at the Compassion center about her mother’s illness. The staff reached out to both Rosa and her mother, offering prayers and support. And for once, Rosa and her siblings weren’t carrying the whole burden of the family on their small shoulders.

Rosa walking with her husband and daughter

Arturo and Rosa met while the two were studying for their engineering degrees.

Rosa is now a fishing engineer

Now a fishing engineer, Rosa is studying for her doctorate in marine biology.


That freedom allowed Rosa to explore her own future. For the first time, she had moved from survival to dreaming. She finished high school at just 16, and through Compassion and a scholarship, she went on to school where she studied to become a fishing engineer.

Today, Rosa is married to an engineer and the two are raising a daughter, Adriana. Rosa is working on her doctorate and serves as an inspiration to everyone around her — including her mother.

“I am very proud of my Rosa. She has suffered a lot with my illness and the poor situation we lived in, but she has always been hardworking and full of faith. I am thankful to Compassion and her sponsors for being in her way. Our lives are better because of you.”