However, soon after the vocational course started, Nicaragua began facing a difficult political and economic situation caused by protests against the government. Roads were blocked, economic hardships arose and the workshops came to a halt.
“When the sociopolitical outburst happened here in Nicaragua, we were no longer able to find the materials we needed: the foils, the stylus, the paints,” says Giselle, the boys’ tutor.
Despite the unexpected challenges, Santiago, Juan and Eddy continued chasing after their dream. And after seeing their dedication, the staff at the Compassion partner church searched every craft store they came across for the embossing materials they needed.
“We saw how important this workshop was for the boys, and it set a precedent as well. With them being the oldest children, their example in determination, effort and persistence inspired the younger kids,” says Marisol, the center director.
Soon, the three boys were able to resume learning how to emboss — and they did it with fervor. The unrest in Nicaragua had pushed their families into difficult economic situations, which further fueled the boys’ desire to use their love for embossing to help provide income.
Later that year, the boys completed their workshop. Santiago and Juan’s Compassion journey also came to an end as they graduated from the program. But after spending their entire childhoods in the Compassion program, they wanted to give back.
“We’ve missed coming to the center, learning something new every day. But they taught us to serve our peers as well, to share knowledge and help others in whatever way we can,” says Santiago.
So, Juan and Santiago began volunteering their time to assist in teaching the embossing class at the Compassion center.