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Jan 25, 2019

Pakhi's new gained self-confidence

14-year-old Pakhi lives with her parents in Comilla, a city with 1.7 million inhabitants. Her two older sisters have already left home. Pakhi has never attended school because she had to help so much at home. There was simply no time left for school.

New gained self-confidence

But for one year now she has had the opportunity to attend a WYCA Comilla project, financed by the Horyzon foundation. There she participates in the Adolescent Development Group, a program in which she learns to write, read and do arithmetic during 18 months. Reading in particular makes life so much easier for her. Now she finally understands what is written on all the signs in the city and can orientate herself. Something that gives her a feeling of security.

Succesful exams and new dreams

Since she took part in the program she feels much better, she has confidence in herself and knows that she can change something. Through the program, she also acquired knowledge in the areas of polygamy, menstrual hygiene and health care, which means that she can now also raise her voice in these topics. Most of all she likes poems, of which she knows most by heart and likes to recite them.

The last exams were successful and now Pakhi hopes that she will be able to attend regular school after the program. After school, when she is older, she wants to become one of the few policewomen in Comilla. A circumstance that the 14-year-old wants to change definitely. From her point of view, this is another advantage of working as a policewoman: She can take action against drug abuse in her neighbourhood, a situation, which only gives everyone a bad impression. As far as Bangladesh as a whole is concerned, she wants polygamy and early marriage to stop.

Dec 3, 2018

A scholarship for Carol

Within the project Paza la Paz Horyzon has the opportunity to award 1-2 young Columbians involved in the project with a scholarships. Carol Lorena is one of the award winners and tells us her story:

My name is Carol. I am 17 years old and live in a neighborhood in Bosa, one of the largest areas of Bogotá. Our area is struggling with social issues such as displacement, drug abuse, gang crime, social cleansing and pollution.

I live together with my parents, my brother and my little nephew. He was left alone by his mother as a baby and we are taking care of him ever since. My brother committed a crime under the bad influence of his friends and drugs. He was arrested and is currently sentencing his house arrest. Although I live in a difficult sector and by my brother set a bad example with his life style, I have managed to go another way.

I am a high school graduate and learned about YMCA four years ago during a drug prevention campaign. I really liked the work of the organization and I started attending events on entrepreneurship, psychological help or art. My life really changed when I was 14 years old and became part of Paza la Paz. The project has awakened all the potential laying in me. It showed me my talents like dancing, public speaking or leadership, so I decided to start the School for Civic Education. I was involved in founding three youth groups. In these we have developed many social and cultural initiatives to promote peace in the neighborhood. Some of our activities were the Paza La Paz Festival, a documentary about the Rio Bogotá and the presentation of projects to the mayor. Thanks to YMCA I was able to participate in various trainings, such as being a youth leader in the Leadership School or attending lectures on sexual health and gender. All this enabled me to develop my leadership skills, and so I eventually became a student representative of my school. 

I passed on my experience in the neighbourhood. I came in touch with 600 girls and boys and showed them that it is possible to choose a good path. My dream is to become a social worker to achieve my life goals and at the same time to change the lives of children and young people in my area. That's why I applied for a scholarship from Horyzon. 

Many thanks to all and I hope my story inspires more teenagers to achieve their dreams.


Oct 29, 2018

A day in the life of Jannatul

Jannatul in her home in the slums of Dhaka
Jannatul in her home in the slums of Dhaka

"Jannatul! Wake up!" The loving voice of my mother brings me from the beautiful dream world back into the hard reality. My name is Jannatul and I am eleven years old. I live with my siblings and my parents in a corrugated iron hut in a slum in Dhaka. My father left the small home early in the morning, because he has to sell as many fish as possible so that we have enough money for the rent and the food. Money is unfortunately always one of the biggest worries in my family.

After everyone has eaten their breakfast, my mother accompanies me to the YWCA Free School. This school offers a good education for the poorest children in the slums of Dhaka free of charge, so also for me. The timetable today includes our national language Bangla, mathematics, English and ethics. I am looking forward to school, because English and ethics are my absolute favorite subjects. In ethics classes, we learn a lot about social values such as honesty and sincerity. I believe that this will help me a lot in my life.

After class, we all have our free lunch together at the school. These are the best moments for me, because I can exchange the latest gossip with my friends there and just have fun. After dinner, my mother picks me up from school and we go home together. There I have to do some housework first. Besides keeping the hut clean, I am also partly responsible for cooking. We share a kitchen with 4 other families. Additionally, I take care of my two-year-old sister. When I am finished with the household work and school homework is done as well, I can go play with my friends.

When it comes to homework, I always try especially hard because I want to become a doctor. I know that this dream will probably be difficult to realize. Because here the possibility to study medicine unfortunately depends much more on the financial means than on the intellectual abilities. It won't be easy to raise the necessary money for this. But I firmly believe in it. And who knows, maybe a microcredit from the YWCA will help me later to make my dream come true.

You have made this possible for Jannatul and many others

In 2017 Horyzons Health and Community Development Program (HCDP) in Bangladesh reached 22'000 women and their families and supported them to improve their living conditions, sustain their good health, health rights and income generating possibilities. The programme primarily focuses on girls and women and their families. HCDP supports activities in the core areas of health, education and income generation.

Our programme is only possible due to your donations and we would like to take this opportunity to express our profound gratefulness! Stay in touch, we will keep you informed.

Jannatul with her family in their humble home
Jannatul with her family in their humble home
The kitchen of Jannatuls family
The kitchen of Jannatuls family


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