There are people who go through hardship and their resilience and diligence become an example for others; Buren Tsegmid is the personification of this. Buren moved to the United States in 1999 with her husband and young son on a student visa with plans to complete a Professional Medical English Program, an OBGYN in her home country of Mongolia, Buren wanted to continue improving her work as a medical doctor. During that time, however, Buren’s husband passed away from cancer, leaving her and her young son in a new country, where she didn’t know the language and tens of thousands of dollars in medical bills, “my son was 12 when I lost my husband, it was very hard and I knew I had to move, it was too hard to see his parking space or the bed, it reminded me of how much he was suffering. I chose to move to Boulder because of the good school system,” Buren said.
Once in Boulder, she dove deeply into her studies: English as a Second Language course, College Prep courses, and all the nursing program pre-requisites. Adjusting to her new normal and the high cost of living was difficult. Buren and her son moved constantly and even spent some time in a homeless shelter in 2008. Around that time, one of her professors introduced her to the Boulder County Circles Campaign, provided by Community Action Programs, and that path eventually led her to the Personal Investment Enterprise Program (PIE).
“The Circles program introduced me to the PIE Program, and I decided if someone is willing to help me financially with my studies I’m going to accept it.”
For six months, Buren saved all she could and accomplished the goal of saving $167 a month. Now she is using the money to pay for her tuition and books. “Because of this program, I was able to worry less about money and concentrate more on school. I graduated with A’s from all of my classes,” she said.
She hopes she will be accepted into the University of Colorado Nursing program and is thankful for the support she has received along the way, “Whoever initiated this program, I really appreciate. Foothills United Way really helps people who are struggling and who want to get an education.” She finishes with some important insight, “If I, somebody old, with health issues, English as a second language and being a single mom and widow can do this, others can too. You need to be determined but there is great support, just do it.”