If you travel to a garbage dump community, you will see hundreds of men, women, boys and girls spending their days digging through refuse for something to eat, salvage, or sell. It is a lifestyle that follows them to the simple structures they call home: dirt floors, tin or cardboard walls, plastic tarps for roofs, no doors or indoor plumbing. As the garbage dump is the only resource they have to create a life, the smell, the waste, and disease infect everything. It creates a sense of hopelessness, even worthlessness, over time.
For Francisco Alexander Baltazar, this was not the case. Through his own determination and the support given to him by International Samaritan’s Paso a Paso program, Francisco found a way to escape the dump life and bring hope, not only to himself, but also to his family.
Francisco was born into the garbage dump world. His mother and father both worked at the dump in order to provide for Francisco and his four younger siblings. In 2011, after Francisco had completed his first year of study with the Paso a Paso program, his father, desperate to escape the conditions of the dump, illegally emigrated from their home country of Guatemala to the United States and abandoned his family.
Despite this, Francisco was bound and determined to finish his studies so he could support his family. In 2012, he graduated with a specialization in auto mechanics from the Kinal Private Technical Institute of Guatemala City – one of the 15 best schools in Guatemala.
Francisco came home to look for work and he found a job at a nearby shop earning $190 a month. The salary was not enough for Francisco to pay for his siblings’ education. Any job is valuable when people are desperate for work. In fact, many would have stayed at that job, believing they had no other option. However, Francisco knew the value of his education and knew he could find something better, so when his former teacher suggested he apply at Honda, he did without a second thought. A couple of months later, he was hired.
Francisco could have given up. He could be at the dump collecting recyclables. He could have left Guatemala like his father. Instead, Francisco set out with a goal in mind to support his family and he achieved it through completing his education with the help of our Paso a Paso program, and deciding to never give up and be overcome with hopelessness.
His story is not uncommon, and by investing in the programming International Samaritan
has in place, you are helping to build the foundation of stronger and self-sufficient communities.
Francisco did not stop there; he continued to work hard, coming to work earlier and leaving later than every employee. Honda recognized his dedication to the company and rewarded him with a promotion which resulted in greater benefits.