Leading by Example

POSTED October 18, 2023

Leading by Example

By Children Believe Nicaragua

Jahoska smiling at the computer

“I went from being a quiet girl to participating in different programs, representing other teenagers,” Jahoska shares.

Jahoska is a 24 year old Nicaraguan young woman, who was sponsored by Children Believe since she was a little girl, when she started, she didn’t like to talk, share or speak in public, at the age of 14, she attended for the first time an activity developed by the JUPAC youth network where, through communication materials, they shared awareness-raising messages to prevent violence and promote women’s empowerment, among others; she became part of this network and others, she developed confidence and strengthened life skills, which in turn lead to academic success. She achieved the grades needed to attend university, where she is currently close to achieving a degree in marketing and advertising by attending weekend classes.

“Where I live, there were many groups that encouraged young people to fall into bad habits such as drinking alcohol and using drugs; if I hadn’t been part of the Children Believe programs, I’m sure I would have taken one of those paths,” shares Jahoska.

Throughout this time, she has been involved in different activities that promoted youth empowerment and strengthening professional skills, she learned what sorority is, and this left a mark on her thinking, for her is that fostering mutual help among women helps them to support each other and identify harmful practices, to work through challenging life situations in a safe space.

Harnessing Youth Potential

Jahoska is now a reference for other young people, teenagers and children, she is using her knowledge to work as a staff member for INPRHU, a partner agency helping provide care to children sponsored through Children Believe, she’s impressed with how she applied lessons learned in the youth group, as a facilitator, sharing digital empowerment with youth, managing the group’s social media presence and imparting workshop of gender-based violence (GBV).

As she engages with youth now, Jahoska is convicted by her own experience: “If we are included from a young age, if we are given participation and heard, we are going to be great professionals and contribute a lot to our communities.”

Jahoska adds that she wants to be an inspiration to other teenagers so that they have a defined life plan and know that with effort they can achieve their goals, too. At IINPRHU, staff point to Jahoska as an example of Children Believe programs success, as one example among many who have excelled in life, thanks to their involvement.

“She went from being a reserved teenager to being an example and leader for other teenagers in her community” says Martha Prieto, an INPRHU program coordinator. “She became very interested in the protection of girls and together with other young people developed many initiatives to prevent violence in her community.

“If I had to say what is the change she had, for me it is that she is totally another teenager than the one we knew, the way she dedicated herself to learning and the interest she put into it is what has allowed her to reach her potential.”

Maria Isabel Lopez, Regional Director for Latina America, saysYahoska’s story beautifully highlights the significance of fostering mutual help among youth, especially women. By working together and supporting one another, young people can overcome challenges, identify harmful practices, and create safe spaces for personal development. I encourage everyone continue supporting organizations like Children Believe that makes a remarkable difference in the lives of children and youth”.

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Children Believe works globally to empower children to dream fearlessly, stand up for what they believe in — and be heard. For 60 years, we’ve brought together brave young dreamers, caring supporters and partners, and unabashed idealists. Together, we’re driven by a common belief: creating access to education — inside and outside of classrooms — is the most powerful tool children can use to change their world.

About ChildFund Alliance:

A member of ChildFund Alliance, Children Believe is part of a global network of child-focused development organizations working to create opportunities for children and youth, their families and communities. ChildFund helps nearly 23-million children and their families in 70 countries overcome poverty and underlying conditions that prevent children from achieving their full potential. We work to end violence against children; provide expertise in emergencies and disasters to ease the harmful impact on children and their communities; and engage children and youth to create lasting change and elevate their voices in decisions that affect their lives.