One Step at a Time

By 19-year-old EI student Byron de Jesus.

Five years ago I became part of the Empowerment International program. They were not taking students at the time, so I decided to help them with tutoring as a volunteer. I was in the 3rd year of high school at the time. Each afternoon I came to support tutoring and worked with 2nd, 3rd, and 4th-grade students.


After volunteering for a year, I had the opportunity to study English classes. A year later, I had the opportunity to study at a private high school. Over time I was blessed to have my sponsor.


With all the support I now receive in Empowerment International, my family has benefited a lot, because I have 3 siblings. Before joining the program I had no hope of reaching my career goals since my father was not working and my mother was the only one who paid for the household expenses. Being part of EI has opened doors for me. It has helped my family a lot because if I was not part of the program, I would have had to wait until my older brother finished his studies and we could afford to send me. Thanks to EI, though, I have not had to miss a year of school.


One of my biggest achievements ever was to classify in the Universidad Nacional Agraria Nicaragua (UNAN) in medicine. This university has a lot of prestige, especially in medicine. I will not deny that at first, I felt insecure, I felt that I was not going to classify because my brother had taken the exam and he did not pass and he is very smart. Before taking the exam I received math and Spanish classes for four months and also studied on my own.


My first option was Anesthesia which I discovered I liked a lot as I started to review and investigate what all of the medical careers there were. What also attracted me to this career path is that Anesthesia is not a chosen profession by many so there is a lot of demand for this type of work so I realize there will be more options for employment.


In an operating room, a surgeon can not start the operation without an anesthesiologist. I get to see all kinds of surgeries, and I'm even learning to do minor surgeries. Currently, I am offering my services to a children's hospital, La Mascota Hospital as part of my practice. I am truly in love with my profession.

Empowerment has been a fundamental pillar for me, I have learned to work in a team, to share, and to have patience. In the beginning, I was a little overwhelmed with the number of children I had to work with every day, but all this has helped me a lot both personally and professionally. I always think that in an operating room I will not be alone, I will have a team with which I have to work, and I put all the skills I have learned with EI into practice.


My goal is to work hard and help my family. My parents are already older so in the future, we (my older brother and I) will have to assume the responsibilities, support the studies of our younger sister, and support my parents and my grandparents.


Also, I want to make an effort to study another specialty. On a personal level, I see myself forming a family, having economic, and emotional stability. I am lucky because my family and everyone around me is supporting me to move forward. Many times I have wanted to throw in the towel. My brother always motivates me, he always tells me that I can do it. My dad always tells me that, "if you want something, you have to work for it" and that “nothing is easy in this life”.


I thank Empowerment a lot for all the work they have been doing with me and with all those who are part of the program. Because of this work, many young people have been able to break that cycle of poverty due to lack of education. I plan to be another success story.