“I feel really sad because in my family, there is no happiness. My dad is drunk every day and he hits my mom. I am always alone and when I feel sad and have problems, I go into the mountains and cry. I feel so happy that I am now learning letters and will be able to read.”
Jorge*, 10 years old, had never been to school prior to coming to Project Somos in May. He is polite and very grateful to have this opportunity to study. He is always one of the first to arrive each day.
We initially assumed that Jorge was the first to arrive because he was eager to study. Never make assumptions . . .
It turns out Jorge was first to arrive because he wanted to escape his dad before he awoke, hungover and angry, and would try to prevent Jorge from coming to Somos to study and eat. Jorge showed up without having eaten breakfast and on Fridays would eat as much as he could in preparation of very little food over the weekend.
In the last three weeks, so much has happened to Jorge. After a recent beating from his father, which left a huge bump on his head, the local mayor, counsel and Somos rallied around Jorge. The mayor went to the local judge. Custody of the child was given to his widowed aunt who lives here in the same community. With two young daughters still at home, this woman has next to nothing herself, but she is doing what she can to provide a safe home for her nephew. They live in a hut with a leaking roof, dirt floors and barely any running water. But Jorge is eating breakfast now. And he continues to show up, eager to learn every day and he is making great progress!
*To respect the privacy of the children, Project Somos always uses pseudonyms and unidentifiable photos when sharing stories.