Our PENNT site is located near the city of Cochabamba, Bolivia. In this area of Bolivia, it’s common for children as young as eight to have to drop out of school to work to support their families. Sponsorship in Bolivia helps alleviate the financial burden on these families, allowing children to stay in school and focus on their future. In addition to sponsorship, our PENNT site helps children overcome barriers to education through an active after school-support program.
PENNT’s school support program places special attention on children from poor backgrounds who are struggling to stay in school and keep their grades up. Children who attend the program receive tutoring and homework help from qualified teachers. The program also gives children a safe space to go after school while their parents are still working.
In addition to academic support, the children enjoy all kinds of recreational, cultural, and spiritual activities such as music, painting, sports, and prayer reflection. They also receive a daily snack to help them focus, such as a smoothies, sandwiches, and muffins!
Marisol joined our sponsorship program in 2012. Even before she was sponsored, she attended our school support program with her little brother, Juan David. “My mom always worked and couldn’t help us with our homework. Our dad doesn’t have a stable job, so we also didn’t have schools supplies or much food at home,” Marisol recalls.
Thanks to the school support program, Marisol and her brother were safely looked after for four hours a day Monday to Friday. They met many friends, and loved socializing, playing, and learning!
Tutoring helped Marisol improve her grades, and she developed a passion for studying. This passion was further ignited when she found out about her Chalice sponsor: “When they told me I had a new sponsor, my heart exploded with happiness,” she smiles. “I felt I had a friend by my side and a guardian angel that protected me.”
Today, Marisol is 15 years old and in high school. She’s a gentle, responsible girl. She helps with chores around the house, and on the weekends, sells fruits and vegetables with her mother. She’s very invested in her education, and has big dreams for the future. “I dream that I will be a doctor that will help others one day,” she smiles.
José, the director of PENNT’s after school support program, recognizes the importance of encouraging children like Marisol to stay in school: “A nation that invests in education is investing in the future of that nation and it is through education that societies build themselves,” he reflects.