Scholarship Student from Nindirí Becomes a Leader in his Community

Jorge Luis Hernández López is a driven young adult from the community of El Portillo, Nindirí. From a family of little means, his mother (and the sole provider for her family), worked hard as a housekeeper to keep her two children in school.

When Bridges partnered with their community in 2011, Jorge Luis became part of a group of teenagers who worked hand-in-hand with Bridges. They supported the El Portillo Committee, provided volunteer labor for Bridges’ construction projects, and participated in exchanges with volunteer groups. Jorge Luis learned a lot from the volunteers and Bridges masons about construction; he can now work as a mason’s assistant because of his experience. Jorge Luis says, “I like knowing that I supported the families in my community. Though I couldn’t help economically, I was able to contribute my volunteer labor. I also liked getting to know the volunteer groups who came to my community; their kindness and willingness to help is amazing.”

Jorge Luis’s family received a Bridges home in 2012. On a community-wide level, he has seen the incredible impact that Bridges has made. He says, “Before Bridges came to work in El Portillo, there were lots of houses made of black plastic. Now families live in much better conditions. Families have also continued developing economically as they receive loans from the community fund for their small businesses.”

After Jorge Luis graduated from high school, he was unable to afford his studies at university. With his goal of becoming a professional in mind, he went looking for work. After a few years of intermittent work, he found a steady job as a machine operator that produces concrete posts. Now able to support his family, Jorge applied for and was accepted to the Bridges Scholarship Program. He works full-time during the week and studies on Sundays at the University of Commercial Sciences (UCC) in Managua. He will graduate in December 2020 with a degree in Industrial Engineering.

Jorge Luis says, “I don’t have the words to express how thankful I am for all the help that Bridges has given me, for guiding my journey, helping me to achieve my goals. I felt so far from achieving my goals, but today I am closer than ever, thanks to Bridges.

My mom has been the motor and motivation to better myself and to achieve my dreams…I always wanted to become a professional to support her. She never studied in school and cannot read or write but worked hard to make sure I got through high school, and I’d like to open a small business for her eventually.”

Additionally, Jorge Luis has become a leader in his community. Now that he is older, he is giving back to his community as an official member of the El Portillo Committee, helping to make decisions about community projects and manage the community fund.

He is also a leader among other Bridges scholarship students, motivating fellow students in the surrounding areas. Last year, Jorge Luis was instrumental in mentoring a peer going through difficult times. The student was considering dropping out due to his difficulties, but, with Jorge Luis’s guidance, motivation, and follow-up, the student stayed in school.