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Friday, July 19, 2024

17-year-old homeless girl gets chance to prove herself, wins full-ride scholarship to US university, graduates as a Lawyer at 29

A determined 17-year-old homeless girl, Daihana Estrada has fought her way to earn a scholarship and become a lawyer in the United States despite facing the challenges of being homeless.

Estrada became homeless after her parents were ordered deported from Utah to Mexico because of their undocumented entry to the United States (U.S) 20 years earlier. However because she born in California and therefore a U.S. citizen, she was not deported alongside.

She was given a choice by her parents, either she would go with them to Mexico, or she could join an older brother in Chicago. Estrada chose Chicago with hopes for a better future for herself.

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She stated that her brother who is only three years older than her was also dealing with his own problems, and she was left mostly to fend for herself as she completed her senior year at high school.

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Estrada said it was a very difficult situation for her as she was already used to being in her parents’ care. She stated that she dined on popcorn when there was no food in the apartment and slept on friends’ couches when she had issues with her brother.

To support herself, Estrada got a job. Despite the challenges, she pushed hard to earn an acceptance from the University of Illinois, Chicago University, She was awarded a full-ride scholarship and the homeless coalition’s scholarship.

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She stated that the Coalition Scholarship helped her move into campus housing. But she was affected during school breaks because she had to know where to go. From the start, Estrada had a vision to use her education to help immigrants like her parents.

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Estrada said that she had a relationship with her English teacher at high school, who took it upon herself to teach her the life skills needed to survive on her own. She added that when she graduated from college and had nowhere to go, Puentes let her stay at her mother’s unused home.

After she graduated from the University of Illinois, she proceeded to Loyola University Chicago School of Law. At her graduation, she addressed the 1,200 students and family in attendance telling them about the challenges she faced and what she did to succeed.

“I want to let them know every person will encounter a hardship at some point in their life, and they have the power to empower themselves because of it or let that take them down in some was,” Estrada said.

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”But I truly believe you can overcome most hardships in life, and you can find something positive about it,” she added.

 

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