Born in Villa El Salvador, southern Lima, Peru, Rosa Cueto Vega was surrounded by hills, sand and poverty. She experienced hunger and suffering. In the midst of her family’s struggle for survival, she didn’t have the luxury of dreaming for a future.
Surviving in a House With No Walls
“When I was a child, my house didn’t have real walls. There was just a fence and we also had a hole as a bathroom; money was very scarce,” says Rosa.
“I was aware of the poverty around me. Sometimes I cried because I was hungry. And my mom was desperate and gave us boiled potatoes mashed with oil for the whole day. We didn’t have enough clothes and I had to wear my oldest siblings’ torn clothes for months. So we just lived like that…”
During her early childhood, this was the life Rosa lived, never imagining better plans for her life. But near her house was a church partnering with Compassion. Rosa had the opportunity to be registered at the child development center through sponsorship when she was 7 years old.
“I was excited and I enjoyed going to the center because I was able to eat varied meals and meats and I enjoyed making crafts. It was a different world compared to my house,” says Rosa.
Surviving in a Family With Mental Illness
After two years attending the center, Rosa’s mom was diagnosed with schizophrenia.
“My mom had her first schizophrenia attack when I was 9 years old, and she had to stay in the hospital for three months.