Lady Estela first came in contact with SALEM in Mindo at the age of 9 years old. She is currently studying Business Administration and works at our center as an Administrative Assistant.
When we talk to Lady about her life at SALEM, her expression shows many emotions.
“I remember I had a rain jacket and yellow boots that I liked to wear. I would go out of SALEM to run through the streets and get all the tourists wet that were on the main street. We would run past Maria and Noemi, we were inseparable, we were like sisters. In the center we were all brothers and sisters.
I came to SALEM for the first time when I was 9 years old. There was a bake sale with traditional Christmas goods and everyone wanted to go to SALEM. I got to know this place 14 years ago and I still haven’t been able to leave it. When I first joined, Lilo and Bruno were the directors at the time. I decided to stay here because my house was not a place I wanted to spend a lot of time.
At SALEM we were a family. I remember the guides Patty and Paula, they were always directing us on paths that would lead us to be good people. Patty was sometimes grumpy, but she was my friend, my guide, almost my mom. I would run to her bed for anything, and I’d get under the covers to cry and tell her about anything, she was always there!
I was taught to have the notion of working with children, I like it because children transmit energy, life and joy. We experience a world of emotions.
I learned many things at SALEM such as respect, responsibility, being kind and being a good person. Now, I understand that time with my family is worth the investment. I will always have the big SALEM family in my heart.”
Lady’s dream is to create a project for young people, where they are their own managers. To create a space that takes them away from the many problems that exist in the community (alcoholism, drugs, teenage pregnancy, etc.).
We are very happy that several of our collaborators in communication, gardens, accounting and social work lived their childhood in the SALEM Center. Now our children are offering all their efforts and skills to give back by providing gentle care and help to the most urgent problems of the families who need it most.