School back in session for Laura, despite the difficulties

In Bolivia, young girls like Laura face many obstacles to achieving a good education — including getting to school in the first place. Sponsoring a child through World Vision helps these children continue their studies by providing the supplies and support they need.

Story and photos by Andrea Rodriguez. Edited by Chris Clouzet, World Vision U.S.
Published August 17, 2011 at 12:00am PDT

Laura, 11, once considered leaving school because it took too long to walk there and she didn't have enough money to buy school supplies.Laura, 11, is a happy, playful fifth-grader who helps her mother at home. But like many young girls in her community, she once considered leaving school. The walking distance, lack of support from her parents, and scarce funds for school supplies made it difficult for her to continue attending.

Child sponsors help World Vision to build up communities like Laura’s and provide basics like education. The sponsor who invested in Laura’s life helped give her the option to stay in school — an opportunity she might not otherwise have by now.

Dropout common for young girls

In Bolivia, school dropout is common among young girls like Laura for a variety of reasons. The absence of separate classes for each grade means multi-grade classrooms, and the community schools only support education up to the fourth grade. Students who wish to continue studying must look for schools far from their communities, requiring them to walk about one or two hours every day.

These circumstances make it difficult to achieve an education. Girls in particular are placed at a disadvantage, because they are the ones who carry out household chores, while their parents invest in the boys. Many girls take care of livestock and graze sheep, leaving no time to walk to school.

A little encouragement and support

Laura still walks an hour to school, but she enjoys her classes and still helps her mother at home. Thanks to a generous sponsor, Laura's education is back on track.World Vision staff often visit children like Laura, and talk to their parents about the importance of education for their daughters. These visits promote awareness, and are a chance to offer support with school supplies as well. World Vision talked with Laura’s family, and the encouragement helped her and her parents change her attitude toward education.

Now, Laura not only attends school regularly, but she has become a leader in the student council. She is also an enthusiastic participant in the workshops provided by World Vision. She quickly learned the sponsorship process and helps with sponsor letters and locating sponsored children in the community.

Enthusiasm goes a long way. Laura’s school is about one hour away from her home, but despite the daily walk, she is very enthusiastic about her studies. Her mother is amazed by the change in Laura’s life and is happy to see her committed to school.

“I am very thankful to [World Vision] and to God because they are a blessing to us,” she says.

It’s a satisfaction and joy for World Vision to encourage children to continue studying, who, in turn, may be an inspiration to others. Children like Laura, with the support of their sponsors, can learn to serve their neighbor and grow up to be agents of change within their families and communities.

Three ways you can help

Pray for Laura as she continues to balance her work at home, her studies, and her help around the community. Ask God to continue to move in the hearts of parents like Laura’s, so that they will continue to see the importance of their children’s education.

Make a one-time gift to help provide an education for one child. Your donation will help pay school fees and provide essentials, like uniforms or other school supplies.

Sponsor a child in Bolivia. Sponsorship is a key factor in providing the resources and support that help children like Laura receive a valuable education.