Author: Salesian Missions

Publication Date: May 10, 2023

Making Dreams Come True

Imagine being so passionate about your career goals—and the education required to achieve it—that you would travel three hours just to get to school. Then three hours back home. That’s exactly what young Felisa does each and every day. But the life-changing opportunity our Salesians in Ecuador offer her, makes it all worthwhile.

Felisa hails from the rural indigenous village of Cangahua outside Quito—where access to basic health care is severely limited by distance, poverty and a lack of qualified providers. Her dream is to become a nurse so she can bring that care directly to those in need.

“Ecuador is the most inequitable country in the world,” explains Father Timothy Ploch, interim director of Salesian Missions, “and indigenous communities are particularly deprived of the services, social support, and education they need to live healthy lives. That’s why our missionaries throughout the country are dedicated to providing young people with the education and skills training they need to make meaningful contributions to society.”

When Felisa learned about Salesian Polytechnic University in Cuenca and its commitment to indigenous youth, she decided to enroll in its nursing program—an opportunity made possible through university-provided financial assistance. Now in her second of nine semesters, and just beginning practical training, Felisa remains laser-focused on her dream. But the obstacles standing in her way extend far beyond transportation and tuition.

“I want to be able to do my homework,” she says, “even though it’s sometimes impossible because I have no internet.” Not only that, but her home responsibilities leave little time for study.

“My dream is to graduate and I’m sacrificing everything I can to achieve this, but I’m also very afraid of the difficulties,” she explains. “I get up at 4 a.m. to milk the cows and do the housework. Most days I come home at 10 p.m. and oftentimes, I don’t get much sleep in order to do my homework.”

Neither Felisa’s classmates nor most of her teachers are aware of the situation she faces every day on her way to university … and she’d like to keep it that way. “I want to make my dream come true through hard work,” she asserts.

Fortunately, Felisa also knows that if, and when, she encounters a roadblock, she can turn to our Salesian missionaries who are fully invested in her success—and her future as well as the future of her community.

Learn more about our work in Ecuador.

Our mission helps make dreams come true by building brighter futures for young people through access to education, job training and more. What’s your mission?

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