Hello, I am Emanuel. I am 20 years old.

When I was in my mother’s womb, she did not want me to be born, so she hit her belly and took medication to cause a miscarriage, but I was born anyway. However, I was so badly damaged that when I was born I had to be hospitalized for two years and I still have physical deformities. When I was young, my mother hit me a lot, and she didn’t take care of me. By the time I was three, I had to feed myself every day; by the time I was five, I was in charge of all the cooking and cleaning for the whole house.

When I was five, my mother finally left me. She changed her name and fled to the United States. Soon after my father left, too, to be with another woman that he was seeing. He left me on the doorstep of my mother’s old boss.  I hoped that things would be better with her, but she also treated me badly. I remember that once she broke my head with a stone and put corn on my head so the birds and chickens would attack me. By the time I was six I wanted to die, and I began to plan how I could kill myself.

My aunt first started coming to see me on the weekends when I was seven years old. Until then, she had lived far away. Even though she couldn’t afford to keep me, she wanted me a lot. She did not hurt me and she took care of my injuries. She begged my dad’s parents to adopt me, and one day she finally convinced them to rescue me from the hell I was living.  When she and my paternal grandparents arrived to bring me home, they found me all naked and dirty. That was the day that my life changed, when my grandparents legally adopted me. They were very nice to me: They took me to the doctor for my injuries, they bought me clothes and shoes, they cut my hair, and after two years of preparation they put me in school with other people my age.

We thought that I would have to stop attending school after sixth grade because it became too expensive, but when I was ready for high school, International Samaritan found me. They gave me the resources to continue schooling. Thank God for this program that has helped me, not only in study but also in moral and psychological ways. Little by little I have changed, because this program believes in the young people who benefit from it. Thanks to International Samaritan my dream to graduate has come true, and I now have the opportunity to go to university. My hope is to get a degree in auditing and form my own company. Finally, my future seems bright.

A Letter from Nora

Note: Since this letter was written, Nora has graduated from high school and started studying at University. Everything started when my parents got together. They lived in Zone 18 [of Guatemala City] with my grandmother and my uncles, who lived lives full of luxury...

A Letter from Zoe

Greetings. I am Zoe. I am 10 years old and am a fourth grader in [REDACTED] Primary School. I live with 7 of my family members. Our house is always full of laughter and happiness. To an outsider, it would seem like we have everything in the world. I don’t think even...