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How a student group is inspiring youth to stay in school

POSTED July 26, 2017

How a student group is inspiring youth to stay in school

Meet young adults who are excited to expand their career potential

By Karla Ramírez, monitoring and evaluation officer, Nicaragua

AxelJ UPAC ChildVoice

Axel (pictured) sits down in a brightly lit university library in Managua. It’s silent except for the occasional laugh. He turns to me with a friendly smile. “[Growing up, my family didn’t have much], but every time I saw a computer, I wanted to know everything,” he says.

The bright and outgoing student was in the final year of a four-year university program in Systems and Technologies Engineering when we spoke, and he has a degree in Leadership and Political Management. “JUPAC changed my life completely,” he shares. “Without it, I would not have realized the importance of study.”

Axel is referring to a youth leadership program donors to Christian Children’s Fund of Canada (CCFC) helped create in Nicaragua six years ago. It encourages youth to focus on their education and contribute to their community through local activities, workshops and events. JUPAC creates a safe place for children to socialize, support each other in their school studies and be positive leaders in the community.

In a country where there are few job opportunities — and only five out of 10 children complete primary school, according to the Inter-American Development Bank — motivating youth to stay in school and give back to their community is incredibly important. Donor support is inspiring them to see beyond poverty and to dream big. That’s why there are many students like Axel.

“I am studying international relations and foreign trade,” shares Irina, a serious and soft-spoken member of JUPAC. “I like this career, because I can help inside and outside my country.”

Rodrigo, another member, is studying architecture at university.

JUPAC changed Betzy’s life, too. “It has been my school, because in my family it’s thought just men study or work, admits the teen. JUPAC gave me a space to feel valued, because my ideas are heard.”

As I finish chatting with Axel, he sums up his impressions of JUPAC: “It’s a community space in which the lives of many young people without opportunities are transformed,” he says. Now that’s something to smile about.

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Children Believe works globally to empower children to dream fearlessly, stand up for what they believe in — and be heard. For 60+ years, we’ve brought together brave young dreamers, caring supporters and partners, and unabashed idealists. Together, we’re driven by a common belief: creating access to education — inside and outside of classrooms — is the most powerful tool children can use to change their world.

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