Sheyla’s father was murdered when she was just a child. After his death, her family struggled with the loss of his emotional and financial support. Years later, Sheyla, 19, sat down with Global Fund for Children Senior Communications Officer, Maria Creamer, to share how her resilience, unwavering optimism, and love for learning pushed her forward. She is now pursuing a career in education.
Sheyla walked into the room in Tola, Nicaragua, wearing a crispy clean polo shirt with freshly painted nails, red converse to match, and a beaming smile. Behind us, as she recounted her life story, were clucking chickens and lush jungle.
After the passing of her father, Sheyla explained, his responsibilities were suddenly left to her mother. The adjustment wasn’t easy, and ultimately, the family relocated to a sleepy beach town alongside the Pacific coastline in Nicaragua. They had family there who could soften their hardships.
This moment in Sheyla’s life carved out a young woman filled with resilience and optimism.
Sheyla explained that giving up and having a bad attitude accomplishes nothing. This sort of tenacity is what led her and her sister to discover GFC partner the Nicaraguan Resource Center (CREA).
CREA is a locally led organization that works with multiple communities in rural Nicaragua to meet children’s and adolescents’ education and literacy needs. Connecting with CREA transformed the trajectory of Sheyla’s life – and influenced the lives of the people around her.
It was at CREA that her love for books and education flourished. The stories painted new worlds and ways of thinking and introduced Sheyla to some of her favorite literary characters. Her absolute favorite? The Harry Potter series. Sheyla’s eyes lit up as she talked about flying on brooms with Harry Potter and concocting spells with Hermione Granger.
“At first my mom didn’t understand why I liked these fantasy stories,” Sheyla explained. “She would tell me, ‘But this isn’t real! This isn’t reality.’ And I explained that was sort of the point. She gets it now.”
Sheyla’s love for reading cultivated a deep appreciation for learning and made school fun and exciting.
Regardless of her situation at home, her attitude at school resulted in her landing top grades plus a volunteer position at CREA. She is now attending workshops provided by the organization, developing valuable skills as an assistant teacher in CREA’s programs, and becoming a role model in her community.
Sheyla hopes to pursue what she believes to be her calling in life – teaching – by becoming an educator in her community. The fulfillment she feels when that light bulb goes off in a student’s head is one of her biggest motivators. That, and her belief that education is the ticket to all opportunities.
“Education is like a magical key that opens many doors,” Sheyla said. “Not many,” she corrected herself, “but all of the doors that we can find in life. We also see that education is like a passport that lets us go wherever.”
Sheyla hopes to replicate and share this magical key with as many students as she possibly can. At 19 years of age, she is already doing just that.