This sixth story in a series about recent high school graduates from our partner community, the Sagrada Familia children’s home in Peru, is about Estefany Arias Ramírez. As a day student at the campus school, she witnessed first-hand the difference between her home environment and the supportive environment in the community. Six years ago, she made the move from her home just a few miles away to Sagrada Familia. Her sister and mother have since followed. Read on for Estefany’s story.
Estefany, what was your early knowledge of Sagrada Familia?
At first I came like a regular student at the Sagrada Familia School. My family lived in the district of Ventanilla, where Sagrada Familia is located. My mom volunteered at the sewing workshop at Sagrada Familia. In 2014, when I was in the seventh year of school, I asked to live on campus. I liked the atmosphere, how the kids here treated each other and how teacher Miguel treated them.
What has been your experience at Sagrada Familia?
I live at the dorm for older girls, named María Elena Moyano (after the Peruvian activist who fought against radical Marxist groups in the 80’s). We enjoy spending time together listening to music and playing. We even have pillow fights. We have this constant need to have fun. I also have a little sister who also stays with me in the community.
Right now, I’m in my second semester of physical therapy in college. Because of the pandemic, I’m doing online classes. So I dedicate time to study but I also try to use my time helping out at the community in whatever task I can. Also because of the pandemic, my mom moved in to the community. She now works as a tutor in charge of a children’s dorm. I have an older sister who is in the army.
I started to like the community even more because of many things that brother Miguel did for us. Until now, he continues to watch over us, making sure that we are well, that we do not lack for anything. In this time of pandemic, he worries because he doesn’t want us to get sick.
What are your plans for the future?
Now I am fulfilling my professional dreams because I am studying at the university. The first career I want to finish is physical therapy. I really like this career because I want to help my mother, who has had cancer for a long time. She has already gone through surgery, but they have told her that she must undergo surgery again. Doctors have told her that half of her face and half of her body can be paralyzed (through this procedure). Hearing that has been difficult for me.
This situation influenced me a lot to study physical therapy. But I don’t just want to study to help my mom, but other people too. There are many people who can suffer from paralysis and cannot move some part of their bodies. Physiotherapy not only helps with paralysis; it also helps with other physical impairments. Physical therapy helps one to rehabilitate their body, maybe not 100%, but in many cases it is better than an operation.
“The first career I want to finish is physical therapy. I really like this career because I want to help my mother. I want to help her with the illness she has. She has cancer.“Estefany Arias Ramírez
Here at Sagrada Familia there was a girl on a wheelchair who came to study. That influenced me a lot because in this community, it does not matter the problems or defects that one may have. The most important thing is the desire and motivation that one has to study. And sometimes we can help.
When I reach my fifth or sixth semester in college, I plan on doing internships. Maybe study and also do an internship to learn more and give my best. I want to help out at the community. Because here we need a lot of help. It’s not only a matter of coming and staying here, we must help. We must help brother Miguel and be mindful about his health. We can use our time also to help out here and help out other children. Once I finish physical therapy, I want to study medicine. I will also use that to help others.
How have you overcome obstacles in the pursuit of your dreams?
At the beginning, my family used to tell me to study another career such as environmental engineering or other things. They confused me. But then I said no, I have to study physical therapy for my mom. Also, when I started college it was difficult to study online. But as they say, everything happens for a reason. Brother Miguel helps a lot, especially those of us who are studying at the university and live in the community. He helped us to get internet and a laptop. Teacher Miguel has borrowed laptops for many of us who study in college.
“We must not only worry about what we have, but also try harder, apply ourselves, grow as people and give the best of ourselves, for ourselves and to help others.”Estefany Arias Ramírez
What is the role Sagrada Familia has played in shaping its students’ future?
Here in the community, if one comes determined to follow a dream, it can be achieved. After all, if one has a dream, brother Miguel is willing to help. As long as one is willing to do their part, if you to want to get ahead, brother Miguel will always support you. Just as brother Miguel supports us, I know that he can also help many other children in the community. And if one day brother Miguel is not here anymore, there are more people who can continue helping in the community. We must not only worry about what we have, but also try harder, apply ourselves, grow as people and give the best of ourselves, for ourselves and to help others.
You may also like: