live well. give well.

  1. Employee at Ricotón Marino

  2. Former patient at Hogar San Francisco de Asis

  3. Studies English with the hope to open a school one day



Nilson Cercado Muñoz

Entrepreneur, Lima Peru

My name is Nilson Cercado and I am 23 years old. I was born on May 9th 1986 in a small village called La Libertad, in the lower department of the amazonas.

My parents are Rodorico Cercado and Filomena Muñoz.  I am the third of seven siblings, four boys and three girls.  My oldest sister is 29 years old and my youngest sister is 12 years old who still goes to primary school.  My whole family lives in the jungle.

In my childhood I suffered various accidents.  One time I fell from a ladder and hit my head hard on the ground, resulting in gradual loss of my sight. At age eight I caught a lung infection and had to go to hospital for 24 days. That is where I met the first person who enjoys helping those in need, my professor Adela Chavez.  She helped my parents to pay for half of the medical expenses because we are a humble family and my parents were not able to.

At the age of 12 my vision had deteriorated to a point where I could only see with great difficulty and so my parents took me to a hospital in Tarapoto.  There, the doctors told us that it would cost a lot of money to perform the necessary operation and that this was only done in Lima.  Luckily, one doctor introduced us to a group of nuns who helped me get to the Hogar San Francisco de Asis (from now on referred to as Hogar), operated by Doctor Anthony Lazzara.

I spent seven months in the Hogar and learnt many things, like being more independent and how to take on life.  I learnt to help when someone is in need and I also got to know many good people who inspired me to press onwards and not to give up.  Seven months later I went back home but had to return to the Hogar for another operation one year later. And that is how I stayed in the Hogar until I was 16 years old.

When I finished high school in 2003 I wanted to study Tourism but unfortunately, my parents could not afford it because we are so many children.  Consequently, I decided to leave home again but this time, not to check-in to hospital but to check-in to life, to search for new work- and study opportunities.

I had many jobs and the first one, which was in house construction, only paid for food and a place to sleep. Therefore, I started looking for something better that would also pay for my studies.  After one year I found a good job that paid for my studies but not for clothing. Well, that was unimportant because most important to me was my education.  Unfortunately, the company I worked for went bankrupt and that is when I reconnected with Alan whom I had lived in the Hogar with, back when we had been 12 years old.  And so we decided to work together; he paid for my studies and I worked in his restaurant.  That is also how I met Jil Hellmann, Mark Regouby and John Whelan who inspire me to continue pursuing my dreams.

My dream is to complete my studies and to pay for the university education of my younger sisters because I want them to be professionals and none of my siblings is.

Another great dream is to open a wood and leather furniture company.  All I need are the machines because I acquired the skill during the five years that I spent working with the company that went bankrupt.  My specialty are wood and leather furniture pieces with antique finishings as well as modern ones.  I know I can accomplish this by working hard every day. When I have enough money I want to buy myself a laptop to design furniture with.

In my free time I like to watch documentaries about history and other countries. I like to learn about other cultures and decide which of them I would enjoy visiting one day in the future.  I also love music and long walks; I always have a lot of fun with my friends.