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Goodbye Aura!

8 March 2012 5 Comments

I’d like to take a moment on this International Women’s Day to tell you about a young woman that I admire. Her name is Aura Yesenia Solis Hernandez and she is my eighteen year-old sponsored child through Children International.

When I say “Goodbye Aura,” I am saying goodbye to the small, chubby-cheeked nine year-old Aura that I first “met” on Children International’s website back in January of 2003. She was waiting for someone to sponsor her and to possibly help her get regular medical check-ups, school supplies and assistance, and the other types of support only available to children lucky enough to be sponsored through Children International. She lived in a shabby home at the time made of mud and wooden planks and had dreams of some day becoming a teacher even though the schooling in her village only went up to Grade 8.

Aura at age 9


Yesterday I wrote what could be my last letter to Aura before she graduates from the sponsorship program in June. She is now beginning University in Guatemala City, is now teaching third grade in her community after completing her three year Teacher Certification course made possible by donors through the website she inspired, Aura’s House.

I admire her because even though she wasn’t born with as many advantages as other children have in this world, she faced every day with courage, grace, and her warm smile and took advantage of the many opportunities that DID eventually come her way. Thanks to the donors at Aura’s House, her family got a safe and sturdy brick home of their own in 2005. They also received furniture and supplies for their home and thanks to extra donations, a room full of desks and chairs were donated to the elementary school in Aura’s village. When Aura’s House donors made secondary school a reality for Aura, she took that opportunity as well.

It could not have been easy to commute alone to Guatemala City every day to go to a new school with other children who grew up under more privileged circumstances. The coursework must have been extremely challenging for Aura who only previously had access to her village schools and yet she persevered, passed all her courses, graduated, and now is helping other children in her community learn to read through her work as a new teacher.

In Aura’s last letter, she congratulated me on the birth of our new son, Nico and expressed hope that myself, my husband, and our two boys can one day come down to Guatemala for a visit. I was lucky enough to meet Aura and her extraordinary family back in 2006, but a return visit with the whole family is one I hope to make in the years ahead as well as to stay in touch after the sponsorship has officially ended.

So, goodbye my sponsored child. Hello to a wonderful and amazing woman who can do anything she puts her mind to!

A recent photo of Aura

Happy International Women’s Day everyone! Lets not stop fighting for the rights of girls and women everywhere to achieve their dreams.

Best wishes,
Kristen Palana


  • Heather said:

    Aww that’s beautiful!

  • Barbara said:

    Dear Kristen

    What a great tribute to a very deserving girl. She has taken advantage of every opportunity you and CI made possible for her and worked hard to get where she is today. I wish her every success in her future career. But the true hero of this story is her sponsor who not only made it all possible but has also helped so many other poor children through Aura’s House. Though inspired by Aura it has only become so successful due to the hard work of yourself and your equally hard working volunteers. Congratulations to all of you. Cheers Barbara

  • Kristen (author) said:

    Thanks Barbara! That’s very kind of you.

  • Olga Leon said:

    What a tremendous acomplishment for the two of you. I’m sure your encouragement and guidance helped her get through the difficult path she went through to become a certified teacher. You have inspired us all of how much more we can do. Thank you Kristen

  • Kristen (author) said:

    Thanks Olga. You are too kind. I just received photos of Aura from her graduation! We hope to get the new stuff up on the site in the next few days.

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