May 02, 2023

Life skills training reminds Abraham of his worth

Abraham, 16, lives with his mother, sister and brother in Bolivia. His father abandoned the family when Abraham was young, leaving him with deep scars. As Abraham grew up, he became angry, rebellious and distracted.

“Many times, people told me that I was a fool, and on many occasions, I thought I was,” he says. He admits to skipping school and leaving home for days at a time, adding, “When I was home, I disrespected my mother and even yelled at her.”

In desperation, Abraham’s mother sent him to a Vision for Vulnerable Youth Initiative program led by World Vision in their area. She hoped he’d be inspired to get back into school and she shared his story with a program leader.

At first, Abraham attended the group sessions because his mother made him. But as the days went by, he began to enjoy himself. He started feeling less alone, less misunderstood. He started to make positive changes in his life—seeking forgiveness from his family, learning to express his feelings and getting help in his studies.

A young man and older woman embrace one another as they pose for a photograph.Abraham’s mother is supportive of her son's business and proud of how far he has come.

“The session that changed my life was the day I shared my story with the other youths,” he says. “I cried a lot that day. I needed to vent and talk about what was happening to me. That day, I received so much support from my peers and the facilitators. They told me that I was a person of great value […] that I only had to find meaning in my life to help me become the person I wanted to be.”

The Vision for Vulnerable Youth Initiative works with young people using the Youth Ready curriculum, equipping them to pursue their passions with tools and training for economic stability, or, where appropriate, support to return to school. The initiative also helps youth to improve their relationships with family and peers. Because Abraham was interested in hairdressing, he was supported with equipment and courses to help him succeed.

“Youth Ready has changed my life and has taught me that I’m not a fool. I feel confident of myself again and I have many dreams to fulfill,” he says. Those dreams include starting a salon, and eventually going to university to become a systems engineer.

“In our community, the Youth Ready project is the only one that works with young people,” he says. “They have trusted us, have listened to us and have dedicated their time to us. I’m sure they have saved many lives.”

More stories for you

Hitting 'Send' on digital emergency aid during COVID-19 From her home in Canada, Elizabeth Araniva is helping World Vision teams in Venezuela to ramp up an emergency response approach proven to work – even from a distance: cash transfers.  
Compassion in the midst of crisis: 5 ways to help We're in the middle of a crisis that requires each of us to play our part to keep ourselves and others safe. This should be our primary focus but not our only focus.
Innovative technology improves children's learning A free, interactive literacy software program called ABRA/READS is helping children in Rwanda develop their English literacy skills through play-based learning.