by Sarah Clark
Roxana Esmeralda Ramirez Cruz is one of the many children in Todos Santos who have been forced to leave school and start working to support their families. When we met Roxana, she was visibly saddened about her situation. She desperately wanted to go back to school and follow her dreams of becoming a nurse. Her story affected us deeply and so we decided to help her.
Two years ago we began sponsoring Roxana’s family so that she could continue her education. And now, after spending a year helping her mom in the family store, she is happily back in school.
It’s so amazing to see her again while we’re in Todos Santos; Roxana is now 15 years old, she smiles and laughs and glows, leading the life of a happy girl! Sometimes Roxana still helps her mom in their family store on Saturdays, but it doesn’t interfere with her studies. In Roxana’s words, “In school I’m very happy! I like school, I like to study, because I want to be a nurse. I want to be in school to keep advancing.” Roxana also loves playing soccer and is a great player on her team: “I love to play, I relax when I play.” Her favorite subject in school is English, and she’s excited to become trilingual (Roxana already speaks and writes in Spanish and Mam, the indigenous language of Todos Santos).
Roxana loves her family and wants all her siblings to be happy and succeed. Her older brother Mario (age 18) also receives a scholarship from the GAAP. She also has two younger sisters, Selena and Magaly who are both in grade school. As Roxana explains, “My younger sisters are also in school and I want them to succeed, for them to study. I want to support my little sisters. I can help my little sisters someday, make sure they have food and I also want them to go even farther in life than I can. I’m giving a good education to my little sisters. I want to give them the best education that I can from my soul.”
Roxana wants to be a nurse AND a veterinarian. Her passion for helping others shines through: “I want to take care of animals, to cure them. Examine the sick animals, give them food to eat. There are some animals here that are sick and sometimes people cry for their animals because they’re sick and I want to cure them. I want to take care of them. Also people that are sick, I want to take care of them.”
When asked what she would like to say to the people and organizations who support the GAAP scholarships, Roxana was all smiles when she reflected: “I want to say thank you to all those who are supporting the scholarship because I’m advancing in my studies. I was working to help my family but I had the dream of going to school! I thank you so much for helping me. I’m so thankful to Elena and Guillermo and Andrés (members of the GAAP team) and to everyone who is supporting me.”