Love, Compassion and Hope
Moraima Oyola Pizarro was born in San Juan Puerto Rico, the third of four children. She faced a very sad and abusive childhood. His father was an alcoholic that would beat her mother almost every night when he came home drunk. They lived in a small wooden house with a zinc plated roof and before walking into the house the father would throw stones to the roof so that all would wake up. He would force the children to witness how he abuse their mother.
Alter this horrendous ritual finished he would throw her mother outside. Moraima would wait until her father was asleep and look after her mother and treat her wounds. Those days which were almost every day she would go to bed at 3 in the morning to be up at 7 to go to school.
One time in his alcoholic madness his father tried to burn her and her three brothers alive but they managed to escape . The fear and anguish was so intense that her younger brother lost his speech. Another time her mother was working, she was a janitor at their small rural public school were they went and the father walked in and beat her grabbing her by the hair and dragging her out into the street. Nobody dared to come to her rescue. Her father looking her into her eyes would tell her "you are a piece of trash and you will always be that in this life, and I will make sure of this."
Forced by the situation at home to have get a job at 12 years of age she found one as an assistant to a friend who prepared breakfasts and lunches to city dump workers. This meant she had to be at work at 3-4am and then onwards to school at 7am. The environment at the dump was terrible and the workers would taunt her with advances even though she was a child. At some point she asked God to take her she did not want to live anymore.
Yet she survived. Moraima's life changed when at 16 she won an essay competition at her school, and also at the national competitions. She was awarded the prize by the Governor and invited to address thousands of youth talking to them about hope and about not falling in utter despair even when life became all dark.
From that day on she started helping others and went on to give motivational talks at orphanages, and rehab hoses for youth. By that time the father abandoned them and went to live in New York were he was arrested and placed in jail for aggravated assault involving another woman and given a long jail sentence. Moraima after some reflection called him on the phone and forgave him.
At 18 coming out of her poverty she held three jobs started to attend the University and with the help of some good hearts who loved her started an organization of her own to assist the homeless youth. It aimed at helping people that had been abused, people marginalized by society, at first she had no place to work so she borrowed 20 chairs and placed them in a public space where she would feed the homeless and gave them inspirational messages about life, and talked to them about hope.
In a couple of years her organization was offering services in more than 6 cities in Puerto Rico. She developed a unique program to help reincorporate in society young people that were being released from jail that no one wanted to employ. She provided the families of prisoners with motivational talks and consolation.
Moraima is a living example of how determination and hope can make you survive the grimmest of circumstances. A woman that suffered so much but who overcame all and never was embittered by the tests that life threw upon her. She found energies not only to recover her self esteem but to realize that she had to help others and in doing it she was fulfilling her mission in life. That all the suffering she underwent helped her to develop the compassion that she was going to need to be able to touch so many lives and help the abandoned, the homeless, the delinquents, for none in her eyes was without hope. In 2006 the National Hispana Leadership Institute recognized Moraima with the MUJER Award for serving the Hispanic Community. Today Moraima continues her indefatigable work in pro of the destitute, the homeless, the forgotten though her organization Forjando un Nuevo Camino (Forging a New Path)
Because she knows everyone has a hope to become better. She knows that we all can change.