Nicaraguan refugee leads shelter that once welcomed him

After graduating from law school, Ernesto planned to practice his profession and create his law firm. However, he had to leave Nicaragua and start a new life in the middle of the socio-political crisis that began in April 2018. Having just graduated, he put his dreams in a suitcase and sought refuge in Costa Rica.

Upon his arrival in Costa Rica, he was cared for in a shelter in San José, the capital, where he not only found caring people who assisted him, but that same place became the workplace that today he leads with passion.

Ernesto’s integration was only possible with the access to identity documents granted to him by the Costa Rican government. As an asylum seeker, Ernesto managed to establish himself as a leader of the shelter. Because of his training as a lawyer, he has not only provided humanitarian assistance, but he has also managed to get other people access to this documentation and other rights granted by the country to asylum seekers and refugees in Costa Rica.

 His work has been extended for almost four years, providing attention to asylum seekers in the region. “We have had to assist people from Nicaragua, Haiti, and more recently Venezuela,” he says, satisfied and proud of the help he has provided.

Now Ernesto, recognized as a refugee, dreams of becoming a psychologist, a career he began in Costa Rica. “I always wanted to be a lawyer or a psychologist. I opted for law without knowing that one day I would give psychosocial help to people who, like me, had to flee their country,” says Ernesto.

Without his documentation, Ernesto cannot imagine how he would have spent his time in the country. First, as an asylum seeker and now as a refugee, Ernesto looks to the future with the hope of continuing to provide help to those who, like him, once needed a helping hand in the country that welcomed them.