When Celeste came to Casa Alianza Nicaragua—as Covenant House is known in the Central American country—she was 18, alone, and pregnant.
“My life was so lonely,” Celeste, now 20, remembers. “It was hard to adapt to my reality of pregnancy and then motherhood.” At that time, Celeste had no life plan and, without the support of her parents, she had no idea how to build one.
“At Casa Alianza I learned to have confidence in myself,” she says. “I had so many opportunities to study. I learned things like sewing, reception, cashier, accounting, and marketing. I managed to set goals for myself that I continue to reach today.”
While Celeste was studying sewing, she participated in a contest to come up with the best business plan for a micro business. And she won! “The prize was $800 in primary materials and equipment for my micro business,” she says with pride.
Now her life is on a solid track, and although her country, Nicaragua, is going through a rough time, Celeste is unstoppable. After almost two years at Casa Alianza Nicaragua, she now rents her own home, works in an ice cream shop, and has begun her first year of university studies as a public accounting and finance major. (While many universities have had to close because of the instability that has impacted the country since April, Celeste has been able to attend classes online and in person.)
“I’m excited to do an awesome job juggling my studies, my work, my efforts to get my micro business off the ground, and my responsibilities as a mother,” Celeste says. Her goal is to establish a dressmaking shop, with room for crafts like designing greeting cards and her own paintings. “I love poetry and artistic drawing. I have so many poems and drawings that I hope to share with many people very soon.”
When Celeste thinks about her life’s journey she says, “I feel like new. I’m not the same girl I was two years ago. Before, I had no plan, but now I can honestly say I have overcome many things, and my life experiences have helped me to feel more empowered.”
She still counts on support from Casa Alianza Nicaragua. “I am so grateful to God for having put me on the path to Casa Alianza,” Celeste reflects. “I don’t know how to pay back all they have done for me. Even today, as I work toward my degree and my career, they are still supporting me in many ways.”
She says, “I’m thankful, too, to all the people who contribute to Casa Alianza for all they do and, most of all, for believing in us.”