Problem solver today, electrical engineer tomorrow

The story of NPH Honduras sole girl in our electrical vocational workshop and how she has her sights set high for the future.
June 13, 2019 - Honduras

“NPH is an opportunity for us to get ahead,” says Dominica, age 16, of the place she’s called home for the past eight years.

“NPH is an opportunity for us to get ahead,” says Dominica, age 16, of the place she’s called home for the past eight years. Along with her five brothers and sisters, she came to NPH in 2011 and has since come to see it as a loving environment for learning and growing.

Just last November she celebrated her 15th birthday, or quinceañera, a Latin American tradition marking a girl's transition to womanhood. Though not entirely sure of what the future will bring, solid family ties, a good group of friends, and a determined attitude keep her optimistic.

When she's not hanging out with friends or playing with her siblings, you might catch her drawing, reading a book from the Divergent series, or solving math equations and 1000-piece puzzles.

She likes the process of figuring out problems so much that she's chosen to take her skills to a new level by studying in the electrical workshop at our vocational school. In fact, she's the only girl in her class and the first girl in the workshop in four years.

The electrical workshop is just one of the offerings in our vocational school. In addition to workshops in carpentry, shoemaking, dressmaking, beauty, welding, and home economics, it is currently preparing 78 students at NPH to enter the workforce after graduation.

Beginning in 7th grade, students are introduced to the vocational school and rotate through different workshops for two months before selecting one workshop that they’ll work in for the next three years.

Classes tend to be a balance between academics and hands-on practice, allowing students to learn theoretical knowledge as well as technical skills over two to three years. Certified instructors specifically tailor their curricula to prepare our students to take the CADERH, a national certification exam, upon completion of the program.

But Dominica doesn’t plan to stop after getting a professional certification in the workshop. She already has her sights set on becoming an electrical engineer. Talk about brain power!

Being the only girl in her class and knowing that few women work in the field doesn’t seem to faze her. Like the puzzles that she puts together at home, the math equations in her textbook, or the broken gadgets that she fixes in her workshop, it’s just another problem to solve.

Ángel Ponce, her instructor, observes that, "she never puts herself down or gets intimidated about being a girl in a field that is dominated by men. I love working with her. She's dedicated, a quick learner, and is always willing to correct her mistakes."

Besides enjoying the work environment and job stability that NPH provides, Ponce gains pure satisfaction from working with his students and seeing their transformations. Unlike his work at a previous vocational school, which focused primarily on teaching technical skills, he says that, “here [at NPH] we also try to form the students’ values,” one of which being hard work.

"I'm proud of her. She's always met my expectations and I hope that she continues. If what she really wants is to become an [electrical] engineer, then I hope she tries because she has all the qualities to become one," says Ponce.

Next year she’ll be going to high school in Tegucigalpa, where she’s sure to continue to challenge herself and spread her wings.

If she can dream it, then she can achieve it. By her side and at every step of the way is where we'll be.

Children’s names have been changed to protect their privacy.

Arielle Augustin   
Communications Officer

You may be only one person in the world, but you may be all the world to one child.
—Fr. William Wasson




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