To continue with our series of “Stories that Inspire”, we would like to introduce you to Carmen de Luna Williams, proprietress-director of “Sunflower” (Los Girasoles) School in San Pedro de Macoris, Dominican Republic.
The following is an interview with Carmen:
1- Can you tell us a little about your life? Where were you born? What kind of family do you come from?
I was born in San Pedro de Macoris, Dominican Republic. For my first twelve years, I lived in a little village called Guayabo Dulce. My parents were Christian since before I was born and this was very good for me. My childhood was very special. We enjoyed living in a home surrounded by a beautiful landscape, and around my house we had a river and my home was always filled by the grace of God. Later, we moved to San Pedro de Macoris.
2- Where did you study?
I did my basic studies in my little village of Guayabo Dulce and then went on to high school in the bigger town of San Pedro de Macoris. I was able to also finish my degree in Education at Central del Este University.
3- What do you remember about your schooling? Were you a good student?
I would consider myself to have been an average student during my primary studies but I got to be a better student by high school. My teachers and parents were so loving during that time. I have very fond memories of walking from my house to school and from my school back home.
4- How many siblings do you have?
There are 7 of us and we all have a good relationship. We always end each year together.
5- How was your adolescence?
It was very special. It is different when your parents are Christian and able to care for you.
7- How and why did you start your school?
I was fired from a private school where I was working in 2002. In the Dominican Republic, employers must provide employees with compensation in such cases. I looked at myself without a job, without much money and decided to start a small school. My father, who has now passed, was with me during that time, and was a great support for my young project.
I asked God for help. We started in our family garage and we only had three students. There were children who did not go to school because the school was too far away. I spoke with their parents about our school and then we were able to expand to another room in the house and then finally to my mother’s house.
Then, I met a loan officer named Isidro who works with Edify’s local partner in the Dominican Republic and he helped me to complete my dream. I took out a loan and, by God’s grace, this school that started in a garage now has six classrooms and a small office and has served up to 80 students.
8- What is your main goal currently?
I want see to the students living with Christian values that they have learned here. I want to fill their minds with the knowledge of Jesus Christ, their creator, provider, and guide.
9- What is your next challenge?
I want to have a beautiful and secure school. We needed a perimeter wall for security around the school and now we have it, thanks be to God!
My next challenge is finish two classrooms on the second floor to be able to increase the school’s enrollment.
10- Do you have any advice for other school directors?
Yes. I’d advise those working in education to put God first in all things. The battle is hard but God is Almighty. The victory is ours in Jesus’ Name. I’d tell them to put their dreams in the Hands of God. Nobody can steal that dream.
11- Thank you Carmen. God bless you. Do you have any prayer requests?
Thank you. Please pray for my school. We need to become more financially sustainable. Also please pray for my family.