By Juan Pablo Ramirez; Edited by Leanna Cappiello
Education is a right, but it's not necessarily secured for children like Estefania, 12, who is without a birth certificate.
Estefania was born in the Dominican Republic, not far from the Haitian border. Her parents left Haiti in search of a better life. Before they could register their daughter legally in the country, they passed away tragically from AIDS. When Estefania was orphaned, she went to live with her aunt Joceline.
"My aunt sells merchandise in the market and buys my books and backpack. She always encourages me," Estefania says.
Because of her circumstances, Estefania, a fifth-grader, was still not a legal resident of the Dominican Republic. Estefania feared being deported back to Haiti because students pay for school there, and she could not afford tuition.
To Estefania, happiness is going to school to learn and play with her classmates. "My school is beautiful, it is big. I always come to learn and play with my friends. If I have homework, I complete it so I can go out and have fun," she says. In order to attend high school in three years, she will need a birth certificate.
World Vision stands for the rights of children for basic education, but in practice, each country and each school is different. In some cases, principals in the Dominican Republic enroll children through to the eighth grade without birth certificates, but others do not accept undocument children under any circumstances.
With the help of Canadians like you, Estefania became a sponsored child and was found eligible for her legal papers having been born on Dominican soil. She is being advocated for so that she can attend school legally.
"Presidents can build schools for all children and this way, all people can work," she says. Estefania dreams of being a teacher when she grows up.
Help a child like Estefania. Become a sponsor today