Maria Can Make It
Thirteen is an unlucky age for girls in Bolivia – the age when the average girl drops out of school.
At 11 years old, Maria is curious, bold and making her community a better place. But the stakes are high. The next two years are critical.
In Maria's hometown in Bolivia, nearly half of the children aren't getting what they need to succeed.
"If I could give one gift to all the children in the world, I know I couldn't give world peace, but what I can give is school materials so kids can learn and vegetables to make them healthy."
Many schools in impoverished Bolivian communities need help just to provide the basics. Well-meaning but untrained teachers struggle to help children learn to read and do basic math. Girls and boys from poor families often sell candies on the street to earn money to buy their school supplies. Running water and working bathrooms at school are rare and children often get sick. With all these challenges and family pressures, many girls just drop out of school.
But Maria can make it. She has sponsors on her side.
Maria's school is an oasis of learning in a community marred by poverty.
If Save the Children's education experts get involved – helping educators and students - then things can change for the better now, and in the future.
Maria and her schoolmates are sponsored by generous people from around the world.
"The school materials are good, the teachers explain things better, the classes are more fun and I am learning more," said Maria. "I would like to say to my sponsor that my school is a success because we did it together."
The children are healthier, which keeps them in school and learning. Sponsorship supports clean water and health programs. One club at Maria's school even planted a garden so children can eat more fresh vegetables. Maria volunteers in the health brigade, encouraging classmates to enjoy exercise and practice good hygiene.
What's more, parents, teachers and local leaders have embraced Save the Children programs. They will carry on and make it their own so all children in their community can have a better education.
"Thank you for your support because it helps," said Maria.
Please inspire a child by becoming a sponsor. If you let girls and boys know you believe in them, then more promising children, like Maria, can reach their full potential.