Born into a family plagued by cruelty and violence, Ramiro was alone on the street by age 9. He spent two years arduously cutting sugar cane outside the city of Puebla, only to have his salary stolen by older workers. After fleeing the sugar cane fields, Ramiro found work herding sheep and was continually abused by the sheep farmer. Adelina, the sheep farmer’s daughter, befriended Ramiro and secretly brought him food each night. Adelina was also being abused by her father, and when both children turned 15, they fled to the city of Puebla. Ramiro and Adelina scraped together a meagre living by selling trinkets on the street. They lived in a tiny cinderblock shack with a dirt floor and a patchwork plastic roof.
Adelina harboured intense distrust towards organisations and government programmes that attempted to reach out to her family. Many had failed to fulfill promises, while others criticised Margarita as an inept parent and threatened to take away her children. When JUCONI initially organised a meeting, Adelina, sceptical of their commitment, stayed at her fruit stand. Ramiro fled from the house and did not meet with the team.
One day, Ramiro remarked about two days of hauling heavy bags he had recently done in the market. The JUCONI team lauded his dedication to the family. Over the next weeks, Ramiro kept the team informed of his work. The team showered him with praise, reiterating his strength and deep love for his family. Ramiro started to linger more during the sessions and he gradually became involved. For the first time in his life, Ramiro began to feel important. He started to improve the squalid shack by putting cement between the stacked cinderblocks, expanding the number of rooms, and covering the leaky roof with corrugated tin. He began to joke and play with his children; his drinking and aggression slowly acquiesced.
The cycle of violence that expelled Ramiro from his home at age 9 has been broken. Ramiro takes great satisfaction in knowing that his children are growing up in a loving environment, and that he is a key part of it.