Changing Lives in a Changing World

Here you can read a series of 24 stories from Young Lives children that set the issues affecting their lives against the wider picture of changes in their families and communities.

Changing Lives in a Changing World These stories are taken from the second book charting the lives and aspirations of the Young Lives children: Changing Lives in a Changing World: Young Lives children growing up. This is an updated version of a book we first published in 2009 called: “Nothing is impossible for me”: Stories from Young Lives children.

The same children now give us a unique insight into how their lives are changing as they are growing up. They reveal what they think it means to be poor or rich, how they see their families, friends and communities, the importance of education, what is different between their generation and their parents, and their hopes for the future. Their individual stories are accompanied by themed boxes that give more detail on the context in which the Young Lives children are living.

The individual stories are available as print-friendly PDFs below, listed by country and child's name.


Afework Afework's story : Children’s understandings of wealth and poverty

Afework is now 16 and is generally happy with his life. He is still living with his brother and cousin, and they have a good system for managing the house together. Afework is in a private school, paid for by a scholarship for orphans, and is about to take his national exams. And the last few weeks have brought the family a big and welcome surpriseread more

Hadush's story: Social protection in Ethiopia HadushHadush is now 16 and his life has improved a lot in the past few years. Due to a good harvest, his family circumstances are much better and they have been able to pay off their debts. And although he is worried about not having gone to school and learned to read and write, Hadush enjoys his work and has many ideas about his more

LouamLouam's story: Poverty reduction in Ethiopia

Now Louam is 9, and her wish to start school has been granted. Her family’s circumstances are better, and they have a new kitchen and a toilet. Other things in the village have improved too. But school has not lived up to her expectationsread more

TufaTufa's story: School drop-out among older children

Tufa is now about 16, although he looks much younger. He did go back to school for a short time, but then his father was sent to prison and he had to drop out again to help his mother. He is a hard-working and responsible boy, but it will not be easy for him to return to school again although he would like more

SebleSeble's story: Traditional practices and girls’ choices

Seble is now 17. It takes a little while to find out that there has been a major change in her life. Seble says she is happy about it, and her mother has a lot to say as wellread more




TejeTeje's story: Poverty and ill health

Teje is 9 years old. She has three sisters and a brother, the youngest of whom is 4. Her family has suffered a lot recently because her father is ill and unable to work. Teje has big ambitions, and her mother too has dreams for her daughter. But it is too early to say whether they will work outread more


India and Andhra Pradesh

DeepakDeepak's story: The impact of the Midday Meal Scheme on nutrition and learning

Deepak is now about 8 or 9 years old. He is much happier. His father has remarried and he has a new stepmother and baby brother and is boarding at a boys’ hostel so he can go to more




Salman's story: Children and work

Salman is now 15 years old. He still lives in the city and is now working as a driver. Today, although the family still struggles to make ends meet, he says he is doing much better and he has high hopes for the more

SaradaSarada's story: The role of self-help groups

Sarada is now 15. She has developed into a confident and outspoken young woman. She is determined to continue her studies and become a lawyer. She wants to make her own decisions in life, but this leads to conflict with her parents. The past few years have been very difficult for her and her family, as they have fallen into more

RaviRavi's story: Tribal and Scheduled Caste children

Ravi is now 16 and is working in the fields. There is no discussion of school for him now. He says he is proud to earn money and help his parents out. Although he no longer talks about violence between his parents, he describes how he was drawn into fighting his brother-in-law to protect his sister and nephew. He says there is no place in his own future for the alcohol and violence that have blighted his family’s more


HarikaHarika's story: The importance of maternal education

Harika is now 16. She is no longer working in the cotton fields but has returned to school, and is staying at a girls’ hostel. She found it hard at first to be away from home, but now she has made friends and says she would like to continue her studies and become a more



Shanmuka Priya

Shanmuka Priya: The rise in private education in India

Shanmuka Priya is 8 years old. She is a lively and communicative child. She learned to be independent at an early age. When she was about 5, her parents had to go and work in the fields for much of the day. They took her baby brother with them and left her at home. Sometimes she was looked after by her grandmother or a neighbour and sometimes she played with friends. But often she was more



ElmerElmer's story: The effects of migration on young people

Elmer is now 16 years old. After living in Lima with his sister, he came home shortly before his parents bought some land in a place many miles away. So Elmer had to move again. During the week he and his younger brother and sister live in a village some three hours’ walk from the farm where his parents work. At weekends the children go to the farm to be with their parents. Elmer has clearly found these moves very difficult. He says he misses his old more

LupeLupe's story: Adolescence and growing up

Lupe has recently had her 10th birthday. The main change in her life since we last visited has been that her mother moved out of the family home because of fights with her father. Although Lupe says it is better now because the violence has stopped, she misses her mother, who only visits at more

ManuelManuel's story: Indigenous children and education

Manuel is now a young man of 16. The Young Lives team was not able to interview him this time because he is away for several months working with his father harvesting coffee. So we spoke to his mother instead, using a Quechua more

LuzLuz's story: Young people’s views of what it is to be poor

Luz is now a mature young woman of 17. She is at college studying accountancy. She is very close to her family and misses her aunts, who used to live with them. The best thing that has happened to her recently is her parents’ weddingread more

FabricioFabricio's story: Social protection in Peru

Fabricio is now 9 years old and has grown up a lot. He still lives on the family farm, and was interviewed twice, once while he was looking after the family’s two cows, and once at home. He still enjoys school and playing with his dogs but worries about his parents’ health and about climate more



CeciliaCecilia's story: Bullying and violence in schools

Cecilia is 9, and the youngest of seven children. She is closest to her 15-year-old sister, who looks after her. Four of her siblings no longer live with the family. Cecilia is already an aunt, as two of her sisters have babies themselves. She is now in 4th grade at school. Although she is an active child, and enjoys games like volleyball, she says she is teased at school and this makes her more



LienLien's story: Children’s views of their lives

Lien is now 16 and is a hard-working girl and keen on her studies. But because her family are poor, she feels she needs to earn money. And there are other family complicationsread more




HungHung's story: Families’ experiences of crisis and adverse events

Hung is now 17. Since we last visited, his family has suffered a series of disasters. Their orange crop was ruined by floods, their pigs contracted foot and mouth disease and had to be put down, and then his older brother fell ill. Hung has had to leave school and find workread more


DuyDuy's story: Education quality and extra classes in Vietnam

Duy is now 9 years old. His parents moved to a new house two years ago, which they built with help from his grandparents. He is settled in school and is very happy because he now has a room of his own. And his father had just taken him to visit the capital, Hanoi, to see some of the more


H'MaiH’Mai's story: Health insurance for poor families

H’Mai is now 16 years old. When we called at her house, her mother explained that we could not see her. The reason was a big surpriseread more


Y Sinh Y Sinh's story : Ethnic minority groups in Vietnam

Y Sinh is 9 years old but looks much younger. He is small and thin, but already supports his mother by working for money. He lives with his mother and little sister in a small house on stilts. The family come from the H’Roi ethnic minority and speak their own language. The Young Lives interviewer made a particularly detailed report, some of which is shared more


DaoDao's story: Children’s experiences of domestic violence

Dao is 10 years old. He lives with his parents whom he loves dearly. He is quite shy and only gave short answers to the questions he was asked. His parents want Duy’s life to be better than their more

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