How exactly does one determine when a child is ready to face the world one their own? By their age? Their world experience? Their intelligence? Their maturity? And what becomes of the children who are deemed suitable for full dependence, when in fact they themselves don’t feel that they are prepared to live their lives on their own?
We most Bolivian parents, we have watched our girls grow up with a mixture of pride and nervousness. Unlike most Bolivian children, however, our girls have grown up with a giant question mark gradually approaching along the horizon, uncertain of what will come next.
Throughout Bolivia, it is the norm for teens to continue to live with their parents, through their college years, often right up until they are ready to marry. This provides them with a constant support structure and a stable living situation, while greatly alleviating the financial burden of finding a place to live and paying for tuition, all during what is perhaps the most challenging time of their lives.
What about a girl who has grown up in Corazón del Pastor?
- She does not have a family capable of providing them a place to live, nor help with tuition fees.
- She arrived at CDP behind in her studies, often several grades, and even at 18 may still have 1-2 years left of high school to complete.
- While she has been taught how to cook, clean, and care for herself in general, she has always had the support of several caregivers, a psychologist, social worker, not to mention 23 other girls.
- Past events have impacted her self-confidence, and despite the major steps she has taken over the past several years, she is uncertain that she will be able to make it on her own.
That is why Niños con Valor, as this girl’s family, will continue to support each girl until she feel sure that she will be able to make a successful transition into adulthood. Our continued support will be delivered via two different phases.
The first phase takes place over six years, when the girls are between 12 and 18 years-old, and serves to prepare them for independence. This includes a series of life-skills trainings, job opportunities, a “big sister” program, and volunteer experience.
The second phase, which will launch in January 2014, will consist of a transitional home and educational scholarships. To help cushion to impact of “leaving the nest”, we will offer each girl the opportunity to participate in a program that will enable her to continue her studies, get used to living in a more independent situation, and learn about the obligations and benefits of living on her own.
Help us transform our girls into the new faces of independence! To learn more about how you can help, please write us at firstname.lastname@example.org.