Diana Rivera: survivor of violence who now calls for help to become an engineer

TEGUCIGALPA, HONDURAS.- Growing up among violence and losing loved ones because of it gives you two options in life: follow the example of your environment or propose to get out of it forever. That’s how he understood it Diana Giselle Rivera Rodriguez since she was very young, when because of the danger she had to move up to three times in a month following the only figures she had as a family.

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In reality it was his mother and his stepfather, a man who began to get involved in the world of drugs and with this he not only forced them to move out of the house in the middle of the morning to avoid being seen, but also condemned them. to live with the anguish of being victims of one of their adversaries in the dark business.

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“There were times when bad people came and stole everything in the house or took drugs to my stepfather, they told him to go to the banks and give them money, among other bad experiences,” the young woman recalled in an interview with EL HERALDO.

That was the only lifestyle that little Diana knew at the age of nine, because before that, when she was barely two, her biological father and mother separated and little by little she was left alone with her mother, who later she was more focused on making the relationship with her new partner work.

Diana, originally from Tegucigalpa, remembers that although she did not attend church, she had a certain notion of the existence of God and from time to time she turned to him to seek comfort and ask him that the martyrdom that she and her mother lived with her stepfather, who for So he was becoming addicted, it was over. Therefore, when her maternal grandparents and her aunt came for her to take her away, she felt as if it was an answer to her prayers.

“There was a terrace (in the house where they lived) and I started to pray, I think that somehow God heard my prayers and put it in my aunt’s heart to tell my grandparents to go for me, because at that moment my stepfather was already running out of money and was even losing his mind because he began to use the same drug and my mother did not work. We were in a rather delicate situation and many things changed because I was raised without values ​​and my grandparents taught me and changed the course of my life, ”she recalled, now 20 years old.

Her anguish at the side of her mother and her partner lasted four years and since she was nine, until now, Diana has lived most of the time with her maternal grandparents, whom she considers her driving force, because although her Her mother managed to get out of the damaging love relationship she had, she did not take care of her again, and her biological father, who by then had already formed another family, was murdered in the El Pedregal neighborhood when she was 15 years old.

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He was a sociology student passionate about art and dramatization, who despite having been absent in Diana’s life, “was not a bad person”, but one day when he returned from work, he had the misfortune of claiming some children. that they jumped on his cart and that would have cost him his life.

“One night he arrived very tired and some children began to jump in his truck; he came out quite angry and told the children to leave, then one of the girls hit her head and about 10 minutes later some women arrived and insulted and threatened my father. He began to talk to them to calm them down and explain the situation to them, that was on a Saturday, and apparently things calmed down, but the next day a man who supposedly was the father of the girls arrived and also spoke to him… again, the problem seems to have been solved,” Diana recalled painfully, resenting not having had more time to build a strong relationship with her father.

However, four days after the incident with the children, several armed men arrived at Luis Joel Rivera Perdomo’s house, forced him to leave and shot him dead, so his family believes that the attack could have been due to the situation with its neighbours.

“My dad’s family was only given 24 hours to evict and they had to leave everything and go live somewhere else. The crime went unpunished, ”he lamented.

Despite the bitter and tragic experiences in her life, Diana decided to study and honor the efforts of her grandparents, thanks to whom today she has become a professional in forestry (science that studies the forest and natural resources), but now She dreams of being seen climbing one last rung, which she hopes to be able to achieve with the support of Hondurans or the projection of some institutions or companies.

The smiling and attentive young woman, who proudly recounted that on December 8 she was able to obtain her degree as a forestry technician at the National University of Forestry Sciences (unacifor) from Siguatepeque, yearns to become forest engineerso she requests support to pay for her studies and once graduated, help communities with her knowledge.

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Growing up in the La Era neighborhood and depending on the income that her grandfather earned washing cars, opportunities for Diana were few, but her tutors made an effort to enroll her in a public school, where she met the people who would also play a determining role. In his future.

When she was in eighth grade, the young woman had the opportunity to be selected in the Agents of Change program, promoted by the Pan American Social Marketing Organization (Pasmo, for its acronym in English) and the United States Agency for International Development ( Usaid), in which he obtained some knowledge about diseases and scourges that affect adolescents, but his main learning took him when he met Dr. Gustavo Adolfo Ávila, who recommended that he start applying to obtain a scholarship and continue with their higher education.

“Since then he has been one of the people who has motivated me the most. He encouraged me to continue, to read, to apply for scholarships, to believe in myself”, recalled Diana, who before this interaction with the health professional, never considered the need to train after finishing school, because she was aware that he lacked economic conditions.

But thanks to the concern planted in her, she applied to enter the Pan-American Agricultural School, better known as El Zamorano, but various circumstances, such as lack of money, prevented her from entering.

Rivera assures that he knocked on doors in different companies and even in the Presidential House, during the previous administration, but he did not receive answers.

Despite this, she did not give up and filled out a form to be admitted to Unacifor, where fortunately she won a full scholarship with which she has just graduated.

But since she did not have relatives in Siguatepeque, during the two years that the technician lasted, the 20-year-old performed innumerable jobs, from selling donuts and accessories to working in a grocery store, in a fabric store, doing legal paperwork and as a babysitter, among other things.

Now, she hopes to be able to obtain financing to complete her training as an engineer, for which she would have to spend another two years of study and due to the high demand of her classes, she will have to dedicate herself entirely to her classes.

“I need to cover all the tuition expenses, value units and permanence in Siguatepeque,” she emphasized to EL HERALDO, while asking the current government authorities to support her by giving her a scholarship or to institutions with social responsibility, since it promises to be a change agent for other Hondurans, as they were for her at the time.

“In the future I see myself working with communities, specifically with indigenous peoples, helping them with my knowledge for their development and the production of their food,” she said excitedly.

“I understand that at this moment I am here, that suddenly they are not the best conditions, but that this is temporary and that it is not what I want for my life, that I want different things, that I want a different lifestyle, maybe not full of luxuries, but with peace of mind and security, and although sometimes there are many economic barriers, they can be overcome. I know this is temporary and I am going to get out of here,” she said motivated and hopeful, telling that for the moment she has not been able to enroll to start classes in January 2023, because she needs more than half of the money she needs to pay for your career

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If you wish to collaborate with the dream of Diana Giselle Rivera Rodríguez, you can do so by donating to account number in Bank of the West: 214121227149 or by contacting her at phone +504 3346-8568.

Before saying goodbye to EL HERALDO, Diana wanted to leave a motivational message to young people who, like her, have suffered the absence of their parents or have survived environments of violence and crime.

“I want to tell them that the things that have happened are not their fault, but that they are responsible for the decisions they make. That being with God all things change and we can have a different lifestyle, because He can open all the doors for us and although it seems that there is no way out or that they are nothing in life, they are something and have a lot to contribute to the world. country and their communities. Believe in yourself, believe in what you are capable of, if you still do not know it, encourage yourself to discover what is inside of you, do not stagnate… It will not always be comfortable, but you can and along the way you will find people , places and opportunities to do great and good things”, was his call.

Diana Rivera: survivor of violence who now calls for help to become an engineer