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CFCA stories

Sponsorship helps family separated by immigration

January 4, 2011

Juan Carlos and his siblings
Raul (left), Juan Carlos and Kenia (right) remained in
Nicaragua after their mother and older brother left for
Costa Rica to find work.

In 2008, Juan Carlos became responsible for himself and two younger siblings when his mother and older brother moved to Costa Rica to find work. Juan Carlos and his siblings remained in Nicaragua.

“At that time, I felt that my life did not make any sense, so many were the questions that went through my mind,” Juan Carlos said. “Why did God allow this to happen? I felt alone, that nobody could help me.”

Juan Carlos, now 20, was sponsored through CFCA’s Hope for a Family program a few years before his mother and brother left. Since then, the program not only has helped provide him with basic necessities of food, clothing, education and health care, it has given him moral support and a sense of stability.

His mother, Ivania, settled in San Jose, Costa Rica. His older brother lives in another town and works as a security guard on a farm. Ivania works six days a week as a domestic about an hour outside San Jose and earns less than the minimum wage.

Projects support migrant families

Immigration from Nicaragua to Costa Rica is nothing new and CFCA social workers frequently encounter migrant families in their day-to-day work.

“The great majority of the migrants come not because they choose to do so, but because they are imposed upon by the economic situation of their country,” Villalobos said. “The majority of them are persons of great human and spiritual qualities. They are families who struggle hard to get on in life.”

These families present unique challenges for the program because they move frequently, Villalobos said. Sometimes the families move back to Nicaragua and stay for many months without letting anyone know. The CFCA project in Costa Rica communicates frequently with the CFCA project in Nicaragua so that the staff may follow up with sponsored members who have returned to their country.

Ivania works in Costa Rica
Ivania says she is proud of Juan Carlos for taking
care of her family in Nicaragua. “Juan Carlos is a
very determined young man,” she says.

Hope for reuniting

Juan Carlos credits his mother with teaching him good habits and values that are helping him to succeed.

“Mom left me with my brother and sister whom I agreed to take care of and to watch out for,” he said. “The most important thing is keeping the family united as one, no matter what.”

Juan Carlos hopes Ivania will return home to Nicaragua.

“I want her to come to my country,” he said, “to take me by the hand to receive my diploma at my graduation.”

Juan Carlos’s biggest goal is to finish his studies and help his mother and two younger siblings. A CFCA scholarship helps pay for his education. He studies industrial engineering and hopes to graduate in 2015.

Ivania dreams of reuniting with her children, either in Nicaragua or Costa Rica. Though economic circumstances keep the family apart, Ivania is comforted knowing her son is capable.

“I feel very proud,” she said. “Of all my children, Juan Carlos always has been very dedicated to his studies and is a very determined young man.”

Juan Carlos’s sister, Kenia, is also sponsored. Read her perspective on our blog.

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