Becoming a mother to many in the face of adversity

Becoming a mother to many in the face of adversity

Sully Rojas is a mother to many: her two biological children, Andrea and Fernando, a group of young women living with support in a group home, and hundreds of children in the remote areas of Guatemala. She knows the struggles and joys of raising children.  

Sully and her husband Rudy have worked to develop and maintain a unique program in Guatemala since the start of Christian Horizons Global 25 years ago. Together, they have supported 250 children at risk or with disabilities in a group home setting. Even though providing such a high level of support would seem like a daunting task, it’s far from a burden for Sully. She knows what it feels like to be in the position of a child looking for help.

“The neighbourhood where I grew up was a rough one and I was able to see a lot of injustice between the children like me that didn’t have resources, and the other children,” she explained during a recent phone interview from Guatemala City. “All my life, I decided I was not going to be like that. I want to be fair.”

In addition to economic differences, there is an added stigma of fear towards children with disabilities still woven into the cultural fabric. 

“It doesn’t matter what the family’s economic situation is; they [still] hide the person with disabilities,” she said. “A lot of people look at these children, people with special needs or different abilities, as a burden because they generate expenses - especially the ones that have high needs.”

Sully has seen the benefit of creating a community where people with disabilities belong. It’s impacted her own family. Growing up alongside their sisters in the group home, her children’s perspectives were naturally expanded to include people with disabilities. 

“For them it was very natural to play the whole afternoon with them. They always found a way to include the ones in the wheelchair, or who don’t walk. It makes them to be aware. The girls grew up in the same way.” 

Sully’s dedication and passion shape her role at Christian Horizons.  She and her husband share the formal title of Central American Director, but Sully sees her role overwhelmingly as being a constant source of positivity for other families, particularly single moms. 

“Talking mom to mom, what I do is to look at them and tell them all of the positive things and not allow them to take pity on themselves and their children,” she explained. “It helps to work with the moms – to give them hope, guidance, advice, love, inclusion.”

As a result, she has seen many children thrive that wouldn’t have otherwise been given an opportunity to do so.

“Our ministry here believes that everything comes from God. We have created information and materials for programs in Guatemala and Nicaragua and we have staff and relatives of people with special needs that make the community open, kind and inclusive to people with disabilities,” said Sully.

“I pray for all my own children, but also the other girls. They become part of your life, too.”