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Saying NO to Drugs and Violence

November 23, 2010

As a shy and quiet young man, 19 year old Rafael usually keeps to himself. He speaks only when spoken to and entering his mind is not easy.

So, unless a little background of him is considered, it will be tough to imagine why even at 19, he has not finished 10th grade.

Or why school proved difficult for him at times.

Or Rafaelwhy he was rebellious and disrespectful towards his parents.

Rafael comes from a very large family – 10 members in total. Out of 7 of his siblings, 2 of the oldest are addicts. One brother is addicted to drugs and the other to alcohol. His family is very poor with his father is the only earning member.

Life, as expected, is hard. It is particularly hard for young Rafael who has easy access to the wrong crowd to hang out with and violent brothers to contend with on a daily basis. With so much stress and abuse in family, it would be easy for him to fall into his older brothers’ ways.

But, Rafael is holding his own. He has committed to not resorting to drugs for escape. He, along with 3 of his younger siblings is in the EI program. But, school was not easy for him either. His reticent behavior made it difficult for him to fit into school life. The first year of high school was very difficult.

He says “I was in the same grade as my younger sister and that year I was very defiant and rebellious. She passed the year and I did not!”

However, working with EI staff, Rafael has showed a tremendous improvement in his attitude towards education. When an EI volunteer taught math and English for 2 months, he was present every day at the center to receive classes. He is very focused in school now and rarely misses a day.

Rafael now dreams of becoming an automobile engineer. A few weeks back he had an opportunity to visit the local technical school, and he now aims to get into this  tech school next year. He is determined to make his new dream a reality.

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In Nicaragua 50% of the kids that start 1st grade never finish 5th grade. It is our goal to make this percentage drop significantly.

$30/month is what it takes us at Empowerment International to put a child in school. If you would like to help a child stay in school and get better life, please click on the link below or contact us

Donate at Change.org

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