I met an amazing young woman this week while leading a trip to see Compassion’s work in Honduras. The young woman’s name is Rosa, and she is part of Compassion’s Leadership Development Program.
This university-based program, known as LDP, works with high achieving and high potential students from Compassion child development centers. The LDP program in Honduras is in its first year, and Rosa is one of 19 students in the inaugural class. It is inspiring to hear the LDP stories throughout the world, and I was honored to be in attendance at Ethiopia’s first LDP graduation a few months ago.
Compassion’s President, Wess Stafford, stood in front of the 24 Ethiopian graduates and congratulated them on completing their college degrees and then challenged them to be servant leaders in their communities and nation. He closed his talk to them by saying, “You may have been born into poverty, but poverty was not born into you.”
Rosa is a testimony to Wess’ statement. There were many times in her difficult life where she could have given up, and most of us would not have blamed her. However, if you spend just a few minutes with this remarkable 17-year-old girl, you will realize that giving up was not an option. She shared with us her daily schedule, and it is a great snapshot of the will and determination of Compassion’s LDP students.
6 a.m. – Wakes up each morning to clean the house and make sure all laundry is done for her mother and brother. Rosa’s mother raised all five of her children alone and works at a local restaurant cooking chicken.
8 a.m. – Prepares breakfast for her family.
9:30 a.m. – Begins baking tortillas to sell for the business she operates out of her home. Each day Rosa makes tortillas and people come from around the neighborhood to purchase them to eat for lunch. The money she earns from her business is used to help buy food for her family, and it also pays for her bus fare to and from the university.
12 p.m. – Finishes selling the tortillas and starts lunch for her 14-year-old brother. After he has eaten, she makes sure he gets off to school.
12:30 p.m. – Cleans up, eats her own lunch, and studies for her afternoon classes.
1:30 p.m. – Takes the city bus to the University of Tegulcigalpa, where she is a first-year student studying Business Administration.
7:30 p.m. – Returns to her home and spends the rest of the evening studying and spending time with her mother.
Rosa was asked what she would like to do once she graduates from university. “I eventually want to own and operate a business in my community but first I think I want to get my Masters degree,” she says.
The question, “What does success look like for Compassion International?” has become an easy one to answer because of students like Rosa.
Brian Seay is an artist relations manager for Compassion, working with musicians and bands who advocate for Compassion and children in poverty. He was one of the bloggers on the Uganda blog trip.