Dassari was 15 when she received a letter that would change her life. She lives in Belén, Lempira, in Honduras, a country where many teenage girls become pregnant and gang violence leaves terrible scars. The letter — from her sponsor, a woman named Angie — arrived at a time when Dassari was beginning to face her fears and discover her passions by participating in activities that brought out the best in her — but she just needed someone to believe in her.
“[Angie] told me that she had started working as a teacher for elementary school,” Dassari says. “At that time, she was 21 years old, and I was 15.” Angie also shared how happy she was to be sponsoring Dassari, who felt inspired by their similarities.
That letter gave her the motivation she needed. She joined several World Vision programs in her community. Leadership trainings helped her understand that she was born for more than a life of poverty, violence, and fear. Life skills trainings encouraged her to develop capacities in others. And her trainings in inclusion and community participation inspired her to dream of and work for a better future for her community.
“Thanks to God I learned what I needed,” she says, “and I know that I still need to be trained in many areas, but I am achieving it,” she says. “I am grateful to World Vision for what they did with me, with other children, and with the community.”
As she grew into an adult, Dassari’s time as a sponsored child ended, but her desire for others to experience what she did has gained momentum.
“There are other children who deserve the opportunity to take advantage of the teachings, resources, and support that World Vision provides,” she says.
Just like her sponsor when they first connected, Dassari is now 21 and a schoolteacher in her community. She’s passionate about encouraging girls and has had the opportunity to teach some of them by joining World Vision staff in other communities to share some of the trainings that she benefited from years ago.
“I feel like I’m living the experience that Angie did,” she says. “Now we dedicate ourselves to the same thing, and it feels wonderful to know that we have so much in common. … I have come to feel that I have her close to me.”
While Dassari may never meet Angie in person, she has replayed in her mind many times what she would say if she could.
“If I had the opportunity to meet her,” she says, “I would thank her for being part of my life, because thanks to her I was sponsored, I had my trainings, and now I am a person with values and principles.”
Bringing out the best in others
Gratitude has a very special place in Dassari’s heart for her World Vision family.
“World Vision means everything to me,” she says. “It has been like the relationship parents develop with their children. It has been part of my life, of my family, the place where I was trained.”
Dassari has already made a difference in her community, but she has even bigger goals. She plans to pursue a degree in psychology so she can better support the girls she’s working with.
“I want to listen to them, help them, know what they are feeling and know what they like, help them if they have a problem, so that the best of them comes out as light for other people,” she says.
It all started with a letter that created a bond between a girl and her sponsor who share the same passion — helping others achieve their potential. Now, Dassari is determined to help transform her entire community into a better place.