Salesian Institutions of Higher Education
  • Spanish
  • English
  • Italian
  • Portuguese (Brazil)
Felisa, la joven campesina indígena que vive a tres horas de la Universidad Politécnica Salesiana, Ecuador y sueña con ser enfermera

Felisa, la joven campesina indígena que vive a tres horas de la Universidad Politécnica Salesiana, Ecuador y sueña con ser enfermera


(Universidad Politécnica Salesiana, Ecuador) – Felisa is a young Ecuadorian woman who lives in a sparsely populated indigenous community and is the only member of her family to study. She has six siblings and a five-year-old son and her dream is to become a nurse in rural communities. She studies at the Salesian Polytechnic University in Cayambe, and every day it takes her three hours to get to class and another three to get home. “My dream is to graduate and I’m sacrificing everything I can to achieve this, but I’m also very afraid of the difficulties.” Her story is an example of youthful sacrifice and commitment and also bears witness to how much the opportunities offered by Salesian institutions can mean to so many people living in difficult circumstances.


“There’s only one bus at 6.30 a.m. that takes me to the city. I’m always late for classes and if it breaks down, I have to ask for help along the way to get a ride on a motorbike,” says Felisa, who lives in a community at an altitude of 3,780 meters. Despite all the difficulties, the whole family supports her.


Besides her commitment to university, the young woman has many other tasks to perform. “I get up at 4 a.m. to milk the cows, tidy the house, and do the housework. Most days I come home at ten o’clock at night and many times I don’t sleep to do my homework.”


The nursing degree at the Salesian Pontifical University consists of nine semesters: “I’m in my second semester and thanks to Casa Campesina in Cayambe, I can pay half of the tuition fees. This university caught my attention because it cares about the indigenous population. That’s why I always want to be able to do my homework, even though it’s sometimes impossible because I have no internet,” says Felisa.



The young woman shows with her words what it means to be a leader and what it means to strive to fulfill a dream: “I participate in the life of my community as much as possible and also work as a health promoter. I participated in several workshops and realized that I liked sharing and helping children and people in need. In my area, there’s a lot of malnutrition and the climate is very harsh because of the sun and the altitude.”


It was a friend who works at a health center in the Cangahua community who encouraged her to study. “Now, although I am not a professional, I try to guide and support those who ask me questions or need something from me. I dream of becoming a nurse and working in rural health centers.”


Felisa, together with her class, has now started the practical training. Once a week she travels to school communities far from the city to check eyesight, weigh and measure the pupils and teach them good practices regarding nutrition and hygiene.


Neither Felisa’s classmates nor most of her teachers are aware of the situation she faces every day on her way to university. “I want to make my dream come true through hard work, so I am worried and scared of the difficulties. I don’t know if I’ll be able to continue paying for my studies, so I know I have to do my best every day,” she says in conclusion.


Source: Misiones Salesianas