POSTED August 25, 2021
Young dreamer strives to achieve her goals with help from her sponsor
Carolina shares her dream to become a doctor and help her community thrive
By Rosanna Menchaca, communications manager, Paraguay and Javier Mendoza, local partner representative
“When I grow up I want to heal people who get sick,” young Carolina tells us.
It’s a daring statement for a girl living in rural Paraguay, where education is not strongly encouraged for girls, and less girls than boys complete post-secondary studies. Through Children Believe child sponsorship, however, costs related to Carolina’s education are covered until the end of high school.
“One of the barriers Paraguay girls face is the stigma that women have to stay at home and men go out to work or even to study,” explains Carolina’s teacher, Estela. “At the end of high school, boys are prioritized over girls to access higher education as women are expected to help at home.
But, Carolina’s dream job is sorely needed, especially since access to doctors in her community is scarce because of the long distance to urban areas and treacherous road conditions. The only physician works weekdays, providing basic medical attention. For specialized or weekend care, the nearest option is a hospital, 30 kilometres away. Along with poor roads, transportation is difficult to arrange.
Sadly, COVID-19 school closures have caused major disruptions to Paraguay’s education system. Remote learning was out of reach for many, as home Internet is scarce.
Even today, schools haven’t returned to “normal” as many students continue to learn virtually. Virtual learning was at least possible for Carolina as her mother has cellphone service, which has been shared among her three children, ages 12, eight and six.
It hasn’t been easy though. “I miss my classmates and playing with them,” Carolina says. “I do my homework. It’s easy except for math,” she adds with a smile.
Carolina’s family is among the nearly 40,000 in Paraguay to have received emergency food packs from Children Believe during the COVID-19 pandemic; and among the 13,000+ given hygiene kits (as of August) along with pamphlets explaining the importance of hygiene to prevent the spread of the virus.
Through the support of Children Believe sponsors and donors, Carolina and others like her won’t lose the school year, and she will be one step closer to realizing her dream of becoming a doctor.
ABOUT CHILDREN BELIEVE (formerly Christian Children's Fund of Canada):
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.
About ChildFund Alliance:
A member of ChildFund Alliance, Children Believe is part of a global network of 12 child-focused development organizations working to create opportunities for children and youth, their families and communities. ChildFund helps nearly 23-million children and their families in more than 70 countries overcome poverty and underlying conditions that prevent children from achieving their full potential. We work to end violence against children; provide expertise in emergencies and disasters to ease the harmful impact on children and their communities; and engage children and youth to create lasting change and elevate their voices in decisions that affect their lives.