After her daughter's health improved because of a World Vision-supported nutrition class in her Nicaraguan community several years ago, the 28-year-old was inspired to see beyond the challenges of her difficult life and reach out to others in need in her impoverished community.
The direct, plainspoken mother of two clearly possesses raw leadership ability, coupled with a deep empathy for the struggles of others. A citizen of Nicaragua, the poorest country in the Americas after Haiti, Engracia also knows firsthand what it is to go without.
Because of the few economic opportunities in her village of San Pietralcine (referred to as 'San Pio' by local residents), some 70 miles from the Nicaraguan capital of Managua, she and her husband were forced to make a painful decision five years ago.
He moved to Costa Rica to land work at a drilling company, allowing him to send his wife and their two small children — Ana, 7, and José Alcides, 4 — $150 per month to scrape by. A small sum by U.S. standards, it is twice the average $75 per month most Nicaraguan families earn.
The additional income has come at quite a high price for the young mother, however. "I feel lonely because I see my husband every four months. It is a great sacrifice for me not to have him here," she says. "Sometimes that money he sends me is not enough, and I have to make little bit more from a small pulperia [a small grocery stand], because I have to pay for electricity and water bills."
After World Vision arrived in San Pio several years ago, Ana was enrolled in the sponsorship program, as well as a class for underweight children and their moms. Engracia learned to cook healthier meals for her daughter and newborn son.
Impressed with Ana's improved health, the young mom asked World Vision staff how she could get involved to help others. They enrolled her in a six-month course that equipped her to train other San Pio moms about how to improve their families' health.
"I feel that my self-esteem has improved a lot," she says, describing how working with World Vision has affected her. "I feel that I am a more useful woman to my community, and all the training sessions I have participated in are like a university program I could never take because I barely reached ninth grade in secondary school."
>> Thank God for gifting Engracia with confidence to lead and empathize with the needs of others, which has made her an invaluable instrument of positive change in her community. Pray for other families worldwide who are trying to build a better world for children.
>> Sponsor a child in Nicaragua. Your support can help not just a child, but also his or her entire family to reach their God-given potential.
>> Help create a brighter future for girls and women like Engracia by purchasing a life-changing gift through World Vision's Gift Catalog.
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