We don’t take the question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” lightly. For us, it’s a catalyst to ignite the imaginations of the 2 million children we serve who dream of having a life different than the one of poverty they were born into.

When children in our sponsorship program reach the age of 12, we ask them to begin the imaginative process of planning for a future and unlocking their God-given potential. To dream of a world where:

  • they have a sustainable income that will meet their family’s basic needs.
  • they can afford a safe and clean home.
  • they can become leaders in their communities and empower others to escape poverty just as they did.

Today, we want to introduce you to some of the dreamers in our programs in Guatemala and Bangladesh who have some big professional goals!

Donate for dreams!

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8 children are lined up on a bridge smiling, holding their workbooks.

The 12-year-olds at Joyas de Cristo child development centre in Guatemala took a special field trip into nature to find a quiet spot to sit and dream. Here, they filled out a workbook called, “My Plan for Tomorrow”. Compassion youth around the world work through this book with tutors to help them set both goals and action steps to reach those goals.

This activity is a life-changing moment for our beneficiaries,” says the centre’s Program Coordinator, Edgar.

“Most of the children’s parents are day labourers, masons or seasonal workers who earn $4 a day. That is the reality they know, so this activity is not just about filling out a book with what they hope for the future. We are letting them know that they have other options.

Here are what some of them are writing down in their books:

Little girl wearing a red scarf sits in a large concrete tube reading her book, smiling.

I want to stay in school and become a music teacher. My father works as a mason and I have eight siblings. I want to keep going to school and get a better paying job to help my family move forward. My parents only studied up to third grade. I want to help them get their sixth-grade diploma.”

– Leticia, 12, Guatemala

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Young boy wearing a light blue button up shirt holds up his workbook sitting beside a garden.

I want to be a businessman. I want to have my own factory. My father works long hours in a factory so I want to earn good money so he does not have to work as hard.”

– Eusebio, 12, Guatemala

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Little girl wearing a pin and read shirt sits in the grass and reads her workbook while grinning.

When I grow up I want to be an accountant. I want to work in a bank because I like numbers and I can earn money to help my family. My father chops wood and sells it to earn money for food. I want to work hard to help my mother with money for food.”

– Raquel, 12, Guatemala

Donate for dreams!

Meanwhile, in Bangladesh, the same life-planning workbook has been helping this group of young adults map out the distinct desires they have for their future with the help of the development centre staff.

The staff helps them identify their God-given talents and ambitions and works with them to set a plan to achieve their personal and professional goals.

Every year, they revisit their plans to make sure students are on track and to identify areas they might want to develop or change.

Teenage boy wearing a white button up shirt crosses his arms and looks at the camera.

“I want to continue my higher studies and become a lawyer. My father is a taxi driver and works very hard to make ends meet, for which it is my sacred responsibility to get my family over our present state of poverty.”

– Emon, 17, Bangladesh

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Teenage girl wearing yellow and red dress smiles in front of her Compassion centre, holding her workbook.

Poli is about to take her grade twelve board exams. Her mother works as a cook in a catering company and her father works as a rickshaw driver to support her and her three siblings.

“I have always been inspired by the work that is being done by nongovernment organizations in our community who support us for our well-being. This is why I want to be a social worker and help those who are in most need.”

– Poli, 18, Bangladesh

Donate for dreams!

Teenage girl holds her workbook in her classroom, standing in front of a chalk board and a bright green wall.

Tahomina, the youngest of three, loves to read stories and do math. Her father drives a rickshaw to bring in her family’s only source of income.

“I believe in passing on a legacy of knowledge and good education as I grow up. Hence, my ambition is to become a teacher when I grow up so that I can direct the young generation and be the role model of the community.”

– Tahomina, 17, Bangladesh

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Teenage girl wearing pink and whte is holding a first aid box and standing in front of her school.

Moyna is the eldest of the three sisters whose mother works as a cook at a guesthouse while their father drives a rickshaw. She plans to help educate her sisters and make them self-sufficient in their lives.

“With our present situation, I don’t know how things will turn out, but I want to be a doctor and save people’s lives. I lost my elder sister when I was younger. By having known the pain of the loss, I wish no one has to ever face such a day.”

– Moyna, 19, Bangladesh

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These dreamers know their futures are bigger than their current circumstances. But they can’t get there without your help!

When you donate to educational funds, you’re helping unleash the God-given potential of a student like Leticia or Emon to achieve the promising future they have imagined.

Depending on the student’s needs, their customized learning path could include:

  • formal educational opportunities like tutoring for entrance examinations, assistance with university or seminary education and leadership courses.
  • non-formal educational opportunities like vocational training and apprenticeships, job-search skills and computer literacy.
  • training to generate personal income through business and entrepreneurship classes, financing start-ups and providing seed capital or micro-loans.

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Help these students conquer their professional dreams today. Take a look at our current educational opportunities!

 Let me take a look!

A version of this article was originally published by Compassion International.

Written by: Compassion Canada