“Nothing is impossible for me”

Stories from Young Lives Children

Here you can read a series of stories from Young Lives children that set the issues affecting their lives against the wider picture.

One of the strong themes running through the stories is how parents, even those with little education, are supportive of their children and hopeful about their future. The children themselves are frank about their hopes and fears. Above all they show remarkable resilience. As 12-year-old Hadush from Ethiopia, who does not go to school but is proud of his work looking after cattle, said brightly: “Nothing is impossible for me.”

For the stories we used the interviewers our researchers did with the children, individually and in groups, but also with their parents or other caregivers. We chose four or five children from each of the four study countries (Ethiopia, India, Peru and Vietnam) and a range of girls and boys and children from the younger and older groups. They come from different ethnic and religious backgrounds, different family situations, and live in various urban or rural areas.


ETH25-boys fixing bikeAfework’s story: Orphans in Ethiopia
Afework is 12 years old. His mother died when he was 7 and his father when he was 10. Because Afework is an orphan, he doesn’t have to pay school fees. Afework likes school and says he wants to be a doctor and a football player when he grows up…read more

ETH11-girls reading closeupHadush’s story: The role of religious schools
Hadush is 13. He is from a rural area and lives with his father, stepmother and three older siblings. His mother died when he was small and his father married again six years ago. He looks after cattle and is proud of his work. His family is poor but Hadush is positive about his life…read more

ETH16-girls spinningLouam's story: Nutrition and malnutrition; pre-school education
Louam is 6 years old. She is an active child who smiles a lot. She is the youngest of seven children. Her parents farm and breed cattle and are relatively well off. There was a time when even they had to live on bread and tea because bad weather destroyed their crops. Now she is waiting eagerly until she is 7 and can go to school…read more

ETH29-girls grinding cornTufa’s story: Child work; children’s experiences of poverty and adversity
Tufa is 13 and lives with his parents and five siblings. The family are poor and all live in one room. Tufa used to go to school but dropped out two years ago when his home burned down. Now he looks after cattle. He is sad about this and wants to go back to school one day…read more

ETH09-girls drinking coffeeSeble’s story: Seble mother’s story
Seble thinks she is about 12 years old, though she is not quite sure. She has eight siblings. The family is poor. She has had to miss school because of family problems and is now behind her classmates. But Seble’s mother thinks education is very important for girls and will encourage her to continue…read more

Andhra Pradesh

IND44-woman and girl with bucket.JPGDeepak’s story: Tribal children
Deepak is about 6 years old, though no one is sure of his exact age. He belongs to one of India’s indigeneous tribal groups, and lives in a remote rural community with father, his two younger siblings, and an older half-brother. Deepak’s mother died in childbirth. Deepak’s father works long days as a casual farm labourer so Deepak looks after the younger children a lot. He goes to school but does not attend regularlyread more

IND310-girl at sweetshopSalman’s story: Education and child work
Salman is a 12-year-old boy from a Muslim community in an urban area. He lives with two younger and two older siblings and his mother. His father died of a heart attack when Salman was 6. Salman is no longer in school and works as a sales assistant in a shoe shop. His mother is a domestic worker…read more

IND202-girls with kittenSarada’s story: Early marriage
Sarada is 12 years old. She lives in a village with her mother, sister and stepbrother. Sarada has been disabled since birth, and though she can walk short distances she has problems standing for any length of time. The family belongs to a low-caste community that traditionally washes clothes for a living. Sarada wants to be a judge or a businesswoman when she grows up…read more

IND14-boy with schoolbagRavi’s story: Domestic violence and its effect on children
Ravi is 13 years old. He lives in a village with his parents, brothers and younger nephew, his older sister’s son. He has dropped out of school to pay a family debt and now works on a farm. He hopes to go to school again one day. His father beats his mother sometimes and this makes him unhappy. He says if he gets married, he will never beat his wife…read more

IND51-girl picking cottonHarika’s story: Work in the cotton fields and health
Harika is 13 years old. She is the only girl in her family and has an older and a younger brother. She has to work hard to help her mother at home. She enjoys school and worries about missing it when she works in the fields during the peak agricultural season. Working with the cotton has also affected her health. She is proud of the fact that she has won a national scholarship…read more


PER60-boy with schoolbooksElmer’s story: Migration
Elmer is 12 years old and lives with his older sister, Eva, in Lima. He came to the city from his village so he could start secondary school. He helps Eva by looking after her children while she is at work and in exchange she pays for all his school-related expenses. This is not the first time Elmer has moved – he moved once before when his parents were looking for work on a farm. He misses his family but knows he will be going home soon…read more

PER51-two young girlsLupe’s story: Pre- and primary school
Lupe is 6 years old and quite shy. She lives in Lima with her mother, her father, her sister, and her aunt. Lupe’s grandmother looks after the girls while their mother is at work. Lupe has just started school which she says is harder than kindergarten. She misses the toys and puzzles they had in pre-school and clearly remembers the first day in primary school after the summer holidays…read more

PER05-drums in yard_EgusquizaManuel’s story: Over-age children in school
Manuel is 12 years old. His family are Quechua, the main indigeneous group in Peru. He lives in a rural area with his two sisters, three brothers, his parents and his grandmother, but he also has many cousins and says that his extended family is very important to him. He gets on well with his siblings. Manuel also helps his parents. He helps in the house and he knows how to work on the farm - he says his aunt taught him because his father was away…read more

PER45-girl and blackboard.JPGLuz’s story: Child work
Luz is 14 years old. She lives with her family in a quiet neighbourhood where her parents run a small tailoring business. They work hard and Luz helps out too. She is not paid for this but thinks it is right that children work to help their parents, because they buy food and clothes for their children and support them through school. However, she does not believe that children should work outside the home where they may be exposed to other dangers and risks…read more

PER16-young boy doing maths_EgusquizaFabricio’s story: Indigeneous children and bilingual education
Fabricio is 5 years old. He comes from an indigeneous Quechua family and was interviewed in Quechua and Spanish. His mother was interviewed in Quechua. He recently started primary school and he loves his teacher. His mother originally thought he was too young to move from pre-school into primary, but she appreciates the efforts the teacher makes to keep her informed of his progress. Fabricio spends a lot of time playing on his own because his siblings are at school in another town. Sometimes he helps his mother by collecting firewood and feeding the guinea pigs…read more


VIE41-young children in a circleLien’s story: Economic growth and its impact on children
Lien is 13 years old. She lives with her parents, and her brothers and sisters in an economic development zone just 45 minutes from Hanoi. Lien’s parents both have to work long hours and a long way from home. So Lien does all the cooking, washing and gardening and takes her younger brother and sister to school every morning…read more

VIE31-classroom and teacherHung’s story: Access to health services
Hung is 13 years old. He lives with his parents and older brother in a small house in the centre of their village. His parents have a smallholding and Hung started working on the farm when he was 10. His school is three kilometres away; sometimes he walks or goes by bicycle. Hung says he sometimes worries about having to get up so early in the morning and how he must work hard if he wants to do well…read more

VIE34-exerciseDuy’s story: The importance of parental education
Duy is 6 years old. He lives in a quiet rural area with his younger sister and his parents and grandparents. He has an older brother who lives away from home. Duy has just started primary school which he likes but he was nervous about transferring from kindergarten, and gets anxious sometimes. Duy’s father left school after Grade 6 and his mother after Grade 4. They are clearly keen for their son to do well at school and give him a lot of support at home…read more

VIE25-girl with cards and girl with babyH’Mai’s story: Ethnic minority groups in Vietnam
H’Mai is 13 years old and is the second oldest of four children. Her family is from the H’Roi ethnic minority. They live in a rural area where there are high levels of poverty. H’Mai dropped out of school in Grade 6 because her parents didn’t have enough money to pay the fees. Many children in the community drop out of secondary school because their families can’t afford the fees and other expenses, or because they live too far ways from the school and don’t have any transport, or because they have to work in the fields and so fall behind in their school work…read more

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