Cecilia Milagros, one of the sponsored students of Parafina Social Project, is a great example of hard work and self-improvement.
After finishing school, Cecilia wanted to continue studying. She always dreamed of working in the cooking world, so she studied and thanks to this, she has managed to fulfill her dream, showing to everyone that nothing is impossible.
My name is Cecilia Herrera Gutiérrez, I am eighteen years old, I live with my mother and stepfather in the city of Fernando de la Mora Zona Sur, previously we lived in Barrio San Jorge del Bañado Norte, we had to move because we were affected by the construction of the new waterfront. I lived in the aforementioned place most of my childhood after we moved when I was five years old, after the separation of my biological parents.
The first years were difficult, since my mom was forced to take care of me by herself as a single mother, because my father had totally ignored me, at that time we lived in the house of one of my maternal aunts, some time later my mother met my stepfather, who to be honest has been more my father than the person who gave me life, both built a house that moments later would become my home, both managed to take me forward with hard work and effort, giving me the best family I could wish for.
I was enrolled in the José María Bogarín La Salle School where I studied from the fourth to the ninth grade. During those years we were forced to leave our house many times and to settle in shelters between wooden walls because of the floods that affected the area. Despite the precariousness in which we lived I felt the luckiest person in the world, I had my parents who loved me unconditionally, my friends and classmates with whom I had a great friendship, I had food and a place to sleep, what else could I ask for.
When I finished my elementary and high school I entered the Polytechnic School Paí Lino. When I was in my first year of high school I was benefited with one of the scholarships offered by Parafina, it was as if new opportunities opened before my eyes and so it was, the help they were offering me was very useful, they allowed me to study to continue preparing myself and meet all the goals I had set, besides helping to reduce part of the weight that fell on my parents.
Shortly thereafter, a very ugly misfortune happened to my family, the death of my older brother in a traffic accident in Argentina, which left the whole family devastated, and the worst thing was not being able to say goodbye to him or see him for the last time, since I could not leave the country without the authorization of my biological father who had disappeared, denying me all permission to leave, being aware that during all the time we lived apart he never called me or passed the economic support he should have given me. Those were really painful and difficult times, we had to draw strength from places where we didn’t even have and move forward as we had always done. Despite all that I managed to graduate and I am proud to say that I am a graduate in Technical Bachelor in Hospitality and Tourism with Emphasis in Gastronomy. I am currently pursuing a degree in Gastronomy, of course with the help of the scholarship offered by Parafina.
Throughout my life I have also carried several diseases, due to my low defenses in my immune system, many times I was affected by everything around me as if everything was crumbling before my eyes, I felt like I was fainting, but there was always something or someone who pushed me to keep going, most of the time, my engine to continue with everything and against everything it was my mom, she has never let me give up. My brother and her taught me to love cooking, since I was little I have seen all the love and effort they always put into cooking, my mom with her delicious homemade meals and my brother with his passion as a pizza master, they are one of the reasons why I recently decided to start and open a small business where I mainly make baked goods and candied foods, so far I have done pretty well and I hope to continue growing along with my small business doing what I love to do.
I thank all the people who have always been by my side helping me to grow as a person and be what I am today. I mainly thank Parafina for giving me this opportunity, for giving me confidence and betting on my personal improvement, I hope not to disappoint them. There are still many things to come both good and maybe bad, but I know that with God’s help I will continue to be strong to face all the obstacles that life gives me and as always, keep the faith and strength to move forward and make my dreams come true. My infinite thanks. May God bless you always and may you continue to help others.