Lucas Becomes a Leader

Author Portrait_Ruth Carola Zambrana Valencia, Sponsorship Assistant
Ruth Carola Zambrana Valencia

Sponsorship Assistant

Save the Children in Bolivia

September 7, 2017

Children in Bolivia discover leadership in many ways. Some children may recognize their leadership skills during a school presentation, others may realize this on the playground or practicing sports. Unfortunately, for many children in Cochabamba, where sponsorship works, there aren’t many spaces dedicated to strengthen and nurture these skills amongst children.

This was Lucas’s case – a lively and bright 10-year-old boy whose leadership talents probably would not have been encouraged and developed if it were not for sponsorship support in his community. Fortunately Lucas now is part of Save the Children’s Advisory Council.

“Being able to work with Save the Children is something extraordinary,” says Lucas.

10-year-old Lucas, Advisory Council member and student leader.
10-year-old Lucas, Advisory Council member and student leader.

The Advisory Council is a group composed of children and adolescents that represent the nearly 50 schools sponsorship works with in Cochabamba, Bolivia. It has been set up to promote the participation of children in sponsorship programs so that they are not only beneficiaries, but also decision makers within and about the programs sponsorship helps to run in their schools and community. Their participation on the Advisory Council allows these children to have the opportunity to express their views and influence decision making. The council is an open and active participation space for children, where they are encouraged to share their opinions, reflect on different issues that affect children and most importantly, are listened to. The members of this Advisory Council are also part of the Children and Adolescent Municipal Council of Cochabamba, a group affiliated with local government. This an important space that allows them to influence public policies.

Lucas was a child selected by his peers for the council because he always is watching over the needs of others. Despite these social skills, Lucas’s mom also recalls that before joining this group, he “was not interested in anything and didn’t like to participate.”

Lucas acknowledges that he used to be a restless boy, which he attributes to his energies not being channeled towards anything specific. Thanks to being part of the Advisory Council he began to see changes in his own life and in his self-esteem. Council members benefit not only in improving their communication skills at council meetings, but also can participate in workshops and conferences that strengthen their leadership and life skills. For example, the Advisory Council members organized and participated in the “For Our Rights” conference, held last year to celebrate the 27th anniversary of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child – an international human rights treaty stating the rights of children.

“Now I am more educated… in school there were many changes. My schoolmates used to bother me a lot, [but] now that I entered the Advisory Council, they come to ask me for help, they tell me: Lucas, I need this. Will you help me?” he shares proudly.

Lucas speaking to local media at the anniversary celebration for the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Lucas speaking to local media at the anniversary celebration for the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

His mother, Paola Daisy, also noticed changes in her son’s life, and says that, “Little by little he has been integrating himself and being more talkative. He is interested in things that happen, he is motivated to do things and to achieve his ideas. He wasn’t like this, before there wasn’t any motivation, now he has more initiative, is more interested in knowing what is happening in school and around him.”

Both Lucas and his family are very grateful for the support provided to his school through Save the Children and the Advisory Council, which strengthened his leadership skills and his ambition to achieve his future life goals.

All the way from Cochabamba – thank you, dear sponsors!

Interested in joining our community of sponsors? Click here to learn more.

 

The Tough Got Going: Managing a Disaster, Inside and Out

You know that old cliché: “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.” I recently saw evidence of this in spades when Hurricane Sandy not only hit the Northeast—but also hit the Save the Children headquarters and, what’s worse, many of our staff members’ homes. It’s fascinating to see how people react when their lives are upended by a disaster, especially when they spend so much of their own lives helping others though crises. So when calamity struck in their own backyard, I saw over and over again what my Save

Creating Responsible Members of Society

Tahmina HaiderTahmina Haider, Sponsorship Manager

Meherpur District, Bangladesh 

November 8, 2012 



There are around 15,000 sponsored children in Bangladesh. Recently a new initiative was introduced for 600 sponsored children from 70 villages in the Meherpur province to help them grow as leaders and responsible members of their society.

The children received training on important issues affecting them and other children. The training covered a wide array of topics, such as basic communication and facilitation, hygiene and nutrition, child marriage sexual abuse, child labor, drugs and corporal punishment. They also received orientation on sponsorship operations and programs.
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All the children expressed what an amazing experience it was for them and how honored they felt to participate. They are now aware of their rights, needs and responsibilities and will transfer their knowledge to the children in their villages. They believe they will be able to act as change agents for all children in their villages. They also shared that they are now more valued by the adult members of their society.

In the villages the youth leaders are monitoring and helping with a variety of issues, like ensuring that children always wear shoes when going to the toilets and that they maintain good hygiene. They are also observing if children are being mistreated or receive unacceptable punishment in school or at home.

Through this initiative the children are helping Sponsorship Field Officers receive timely updates on children who are not attending school regularly, have stopped participating in the sponsorship program or have moved away. They also help collect drawings, letters and family updates for sponsors.

This all helps Save the Children run our programs more efficiently and successfully while achieving our goal of developing a child friendly world which prepares them as strong and important future leaders and protects them from all kinds of abuse.

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Interested in joining our community of sponsors? Click here to find out more.

Leading in Times of Turbulence

Cambridge, MA –  I have been thinking a lot about leadership over the past few weeks as I begin my role as the CEO of Save the Children. Yesterday I spoke at the Hauser Center at Harvard to a group of students who came from several different schools around campus.  The discussion was about leading in times of change and crisis and especially about being a brand new leader in these turbulent times.

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