Victoria Cavanaugh, Founder
Victoria Cavanaugh grew up in a small town in western Massachusetts though for the past two years she has also called another small town home, the pueblo of Zaragoza in the department of La Libertad, El Salvador. After seeing Roses in December at age twelve, the documentary about the life of Jean Donovan, she was inspired by the Maryknoll missionary and martyr's words:
"Several times I have decided to leave El Salvador. I almost could, except for the children, the poor, bruised victims of this insanity. Who would care for them? Whose heart could be so staunch as to favor the reasonable thing in a sea of their tears and loneliness? Not mine, dear friend, not mine." [letter home]
And so began her dream of one day traveling to El Salvador in order to meet the children who had captured Jean's awe. During her junior year of university, she was given the opportunity to study abroad in El Salvador at the University of Central America (UCA). As part of her studies she spent two days each week volunteering in hopes of better understanding the reality of the country. The place Victoria volunteered was la Comunidad Oscar Arnulfo Romero or COAR, the very same place where Jean Donovan and Ursuline nun Dorothy Kazel had worked twenty-six years prior as they brought scores of young children, innocent victims of the devastating civil war to the new orphanage in Zaragoza.
In January of 2006 after completing her first semester of studies at the UCA, Victoria moved into COAR, sharing one of the small houses there with ten of the 119 young children. She enrolled for another semester at the UCA, this time able to spend every spare moment with the children of COAR. Teaching music lessons, doing homework with the children, sharing in chores and mealtime, playing lots of futbol, and walking the kilometer long trek to mass in the village every Sunday with all 119 children, gave her ample time to see what one thing critically about the lives--and futures--of the kids with whom she lived so closely.
Returning to the States to complete her senior year, she realized the great dichotomy between the world she was leaving behind and the one she was flying back towards. It became unmistakeably apparent that the university degree she would soon attain would deepen the divide, furthering the education gap. With the incredible support of various friends in El Salvador and in the States, Nuestro Ahora was born with the goal of making education a viable option for the kids of COAR, simply because it should be.
Today, Nuestro Ahora's founder has returned to El Salvador after finishing her university studies in the States. She continues her work in the field of education, teaching high school history and economics at an international school in the capital of San Salvador, while pursuing a graduate degree in International Education Development & Administration at the UCA, San Salvador. She spends time with the scholarship students daily and together they return often to the orphanages, simply to be with the kids who are at the very heart of it all.