In his 3rd year of high school, Byron de Jesús started volunteering as a tutor in the EI Education and Activity Center for children in grade school. His enthusiasm and dedication landed him a scholarship for English classes, followed by a scholarship to study in a semi-private high school in Granada.
It wasn’t long after that EI started to support not only Byron’s academic studies but also
his three younger siblings. In his own words, Byron expresses his gratitude for the opportunity…
“Before being part of the program, I had no hope of being able to study because my father was unemployed then, and my mother was the only one supporting us. Being part of Empowerment has opened doors for me that I never even knew existed. If I were not part of the program, I would have had to wait for my older brother to finish his studies before I could have continued with my studies.”
One of his biggest challenges was to qualify at UNAN, the most prestigious university in the country for all medical fields of study. In the beginning, he admits, he felt very insecure, and wasn't sure he would pass the admission exam since his brother, also very bright, had already taken it and did not pass. Thanks to his dedication to his studies and the support from his family, and EI, Byron successfully passed the exam.
Throughout his five years of studying medicine at UNAN, and continuing to help in the EI center, Byron has completed all of his coursework! Now he is facing his last hurdle and requirement before receiving his degree: he must work for one year in a rural community offering services to them. Much to his surprise, Byron was placed in a remote rural community on the Caribbean coast called Waspan, which is so different from the western part of Nicaragua, it's like another country!
This hasn’t been easy for him on many levels. This is the first time Byron has left home. It’s been tough for him to be away from his family, girlfriend, and friends. At first, he struggled with feelings of sadness and loneliness, and the different cultures and languages added to this. The most challenging issue is the difficulty in communicating with his patients. It’s been several months now, and he is adjusting.
At age 22, Byron feels very content with his achievements and the unique opportunities he has been offered, yet he isn’t stopping here. Byron is another EI student on his way to breaking the cycle of generational poverty!
"My advice to all the children in my country is that they should study and always try to keep their goals clear so they can achieve one objective at a time, that they have defined what they want and that they always put love and a lot of effort into their studies and everything they wish to achieve in life.”