“If it wasn’t for the [Alpacoma Centre], I probably would’ve neglected my school work. I don’t know what would have happened to me,” Fabiola tells us as she neatly arranges her workbooks and pencils in preparation for her upcoming semester at the Universidad Privada Univalle in La Paz, Bolivia. Coming from a family of five, Fabiola had a tough childhood: one without certainty or direction.
When she was a young girl, Fabiola’s parents were impoverished and struggled to care for her and her older brother. They often worked late hours in the local brick factory and left Fabiola and her brother to care for themselves without daily meals. Her parents hoped that Fabiola and her brother would go to school and receive an education, but it seemed like a pipe dream.
Things became dire when Fabiola’s parents had their third child — that is, until generous donors stepped in and Fabiola became a sponsored child with Canadian Feed The Children. Fabiola was taken into Alpacoma Centre and given daily meals and educational support. There, she was introduced to libraries, new friends, and the opportunity to fulfill her dreams.
“When I attended the Centre as a little girl, I became so responsible both in school and my life. My teachers gave me the love and care that I needed to become independent and make decisions for myself. Without the Centre, I would be working in factories alongside my parents.”
Fabiola is now entering her first year in university studying public accounting. She’s currently taking an array of business courses like mathematics, bookkeeping, and even commercial law to understand the legal components of accounting. Her older brother, who also was fortunate enough to receive support from the Centre, is currently in his second year of law school at the same university.
When asked about the importance of the Centre and receiving an education, Fabiola told us that “the Centre is a vital support to little boys and girls. It’s a place the whole community benefits from. I learned to use a computer there, I was able to check out library books, I learned how to write. I never would’ve had those opportunities and for that, I want to thank everyone who helps support this program.”
Fabiola is both nervous and excited to begin her first year and cannot wait to complete her degree. She dreams of one day becoming a bookkeeper for her own health food store to make sure that all Bolivians have access to affordable and nutritious foods. And with Fabiola’s determination, it seems that anything can be a possibility.