Graduates with gratitude: CI’s youth look back as they move ahead

success stories from our graduating youth PROVE EDUCATIONAL CHARITY WORKS

Graduation is always a reason for celebration. Although it is often bittersweet, the twinge of sadness is outweighed by the joy of reaching a major milestone in life, and by the excitement of what lies ahead.

For our sponsored youth, who began their young lives with so many disadvantages and pitfalls, graduation from CI’s program is truly a big deal. Thanks to the support of their sponsors, as well as the perseverance and commitment of their families and the graduates themselves, youth are equipped with the education, skills and knowledge they need to become self-reliant adults.

Many of these sponsorship graduates have the opportunity to participate in Into Employment®, Children International’s workforce development program. Into Employment extends the ripple started through sponsorship by helping young people find sustainable, long-term and successful careers in their local job markets. Through a college education or technical training, Into Employment participants transform their aspirations into results. Combined with career coaching, financial and life-skills education and job-placement support, youth are equipped with the tools they need to lift themselves and their families out of poverty — and elevate their communities.

Stepping out into the world with hope and confidence, their futures look much brighter, and much different, thanks to the advantages and opportunities sponsorship provides. Each CI graduate has their own success story about the obstacles they overcame to get this far.

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a graduation cap with a tassel on top of itInto Employment graduates often triple their families’ incomes.



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Hear about it from the grads themselves:

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The support of sponsorship allows many people to fulfill their dreams and deep desires of their heart and improve their quality of life. Meeting people who are devoted and committed marked this entire period of my life.

I hope and desire from the bottom of my heart that you continue saving lives, sowing dreams and creating smiles. Today, as I graduate, I feel a little bit of sadness, but the gratitude and hope are bigger. I only have to say: THANKS!”

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Graduate youth
19, Colombia

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I am a BA Sociology student. When I joined CI, they gave me many opportunities regarding my career options and many other things.

I want to convey my special thanks to my sponsor, who taught me and gave me the support and encouragement and lots of other things, so that I can fulfil my dreams. Thank you for giving so much strength and empowerment!

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Graduate youth
20, India

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To all Children International supporters: I’m very thankful for the support and for believing in me. Because of you, I became an engineer and I’m able to provide for the basic needs of my family.

It’s a different fulfillment, especially if you come from poverty. The fact that I am preventing my siblings from experiencing the hardships that I’ve gone through is my proudest achievement.”

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Into Employment graduate
26, Philippines

Daniela finds her voice and succeeds against bias

“I’ve been involved in a lot of programs at Children International. Happily, I’m one of the youth announcers at CI Radio Guatemala, which has helped me to express myself as a woman. I’m receiving training in radio, voice-over and scriptwriting, which will help me to go out and talk about issues.”

 DANIELA L., Graduate youth, 17, Guatemala

Graduate youth: Byron’s path to management

For Byron, a graduate of the sponsorship program in Ecuador, landing a good job is a dream come true. Now managing half a dozen employees, the skills he learned didn’t just help him climb the rungs, they helped him learn how to live his best life.

 Byron, Graduate youth, 28, Ecuador
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Children International put me on the right track because they taught me what it means to be an agent of change: to be a social actor within communities that are often marginalized."
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22, graduate youth
Quito, Ecuador

I remember that every year they called us to write letters for our sponsors. Well, every six months. In my case it was Mr. Thurston to whom, wherever he is, I thank him because without his support, I would not be where I am. I wouldn't be where I want to be.

I am an example of the hard work of an entire Children International team that coordinates to make the dreams of children and youths come true. I am very grateful to those who are sponsoring, to those who are donating a grain of sand for this world. They are changing lives, changing realities.

My words of thanks to the sponsors who are far from us is “Thank you.” Because of the distance, we cannot give them a hug. We cannot tell them in person how grateful we are for everything they have done for us. They are not only feeding, but they are also not just donating an amount of money; they are feeding dreams. They are donating better lives to people.

Picture of Santiago now and when he was younger

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This is my last year and only a few days are remaining with Children International. I want to thank the staff at the Centre from my heart; those who supported me and made me capable of doing something better with my life. Thank you!"
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20, graduate youth
Kolkata, India

The time has come for me to bid adieu to my second family and step out for the future. It is an emotional time knowing that from now on, we will not be able to participate in these activities. But whatever we have learned from here since our childhood, it is time to apply it in real life.

I wish to become a company secretary for which I have already started studying. I cleared my foundation tests and am preparing for the executive examinations. I am about to complete my final year of BCom [a Bachelor of Commerce degree] very soon. Thanks to CI, I could [get] here and still [move] ahead thanks to the scholarships.

Picture of Kirti now and when she was younger

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CI graduates find employment and financial stability

Picture of William now and when he was younger

What inspires me about this organization is that many children can change their lives. Just as CI changed my life, so can they. Today, I have great opportunities and live with my own family; I have a son, I have a wife. We are improving.”

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31, Into Employment graduate and current CI employee, Guatemala

Picture of Misheck now and when he was younger

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I participated in several programs, starting with youth leadership training [and] community youth reporters. I started writing stories, getting good photos and video editing, and it enabled me to develop a skill that can earn me a living. I joined BBC Media Action and started working with Tukambe Natulande [a youth-led media program focusing on reproductive health]. I officially started my own business, [supporting] various organizations.”

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25, former sponsored child, Zambia

Picture of Esmerlyn now and when she was younger

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I feel grateful for Into Employment. I learned technical skills and the importance of effective communication, problem solving, adaptability and teamwork. These skills were crucial, as employers began to value not only what I do, but how I did it. I [found a job] that would help me achieve my goals and at the same time, allow me to continue my university education.”

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20, Into Employment graduate, Dominican Republic

Facing the employment challenges ahead

Children International works in areas of dense poverty. Our children and youth are most vulnerable due to devastating physical, emotional and financial challenges. The global pandemic escalated the conditions within these communities, and since stable employment is the key to breaking the cycle of poverty, the need for Into Employment is greater than ever.

The problem we are solving

73 million youth could not find sustainable and meaningful work in 2022 — 6 million more than pre-pandemic levels.

More than 1 in 5 young people are not currently employed, being educated or in any formal training program. This amounts to nearly 300 million youth, globally.

Prolonged school closures put 24 million learners — from pre-primary to university levels — at risk of not returning to school.

Source: United Nations Sustainable Development   

Employment is the key

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