Leaticia broke the chains of poverty and the limitations of tradition and is now studying to be a military doctor.
When Leaticia was 11, her father left home and never returned. Her mother was left to care for their son and daughter, Leaticia. Together they lived with Leaticia's grandmother, cousins and aunt.
Her father's absence put a strain on the family, and her mother struggled to provide Leaticia's and her brother. The only money she made was through selling bissap, a local soft drink.
Living in a country where the percentage of children attending school full time is very low, especially for girls, Leaticia could only imagine a bleak future. In Burkina Faso, more boys are sent to school than girls due in part to cultural beliefs.
Most village traditions dictate that girls have to get married young and leave their father's home. Since they are not staying in their father's home, it is considered a waste of money to send girls to school. These villages also believe that the best place of education for a girl is home, her mother being the best teacher for her.
Among all the children who have the opportunity to go to school, only 60 earn a primary school certificate that allows them to go to a secondary school.
Leaticia is among the small percentage of children who received a primary school certificate to move up into secondary school.
When Leaticia first joined the Compassion-assisted SIM-Zogona Child Development Center (BF200), she was 7 years old and in second grade. Her parents did not have any money and could not pay her school fees anymore. It was a desperate situation.
Through the child development center, she came to realize God's love for her and she decided to give her life to Jesus. Full of courage and eager to succeed, Leaticia seized the opportunity and support of Compassion International to work hard at school. She passed primary school and received her certificate in 2008. A new sun was rising for Leaticia!
Given the Opportunity to Dream
Since she was young Leaticia dreamed of being in the military. She always marveled when she saw a woman wearing a military uniform.
Leaticia barely rested, even during the holidays. She worked hard to take an exam organized by the prestigious and unique military academy of Kadiogo.
The time had come for Leaticia to pursue her dream. She succeeded brilliantly and was registered to the military academy in 2008. The entire family was overwhelmed and filled with great joy in Leaticia's accomplishment. In her success they saw a great opportunity for Leaticia to emerge from poverty.
Among this blessing was also the benefit that the military academy is a state school and Leaticia does not pay the school fees. She also has available to her all the educational tools she needs to perform well.
Like most young girls, Leaticia had many dreams. She not only desired to be in the military, but she also dreamed of becoming a doctor. The two dreams were woven together by the hand of the Lord, and she now has the option of becoming a military doctor.
Plans of Hope
Today Leaticia is in the boarding school at the military academy. Three years ago it would have been unbelievable to see a young woman in that school. It was exclusively for boys. The first year girls were registered in the school was 2007, and only 22 girls were registered.
Leaticia is immensely excited to be part of the second year of girls in the military school. She has a good chance to be among the first women in the country's military. This past school year (2008-2009) 47 young women were registered in the military academy of more than 400.
The Reward of Discipline
Before getting to wear the uniform, Leaticia will have to adust to a rigid schedule. Her day begins at 4 a.m. and doesn't end until 9:30 p.m.
Someone not used to such structure may find the schedule difficult, but not Leaticia. "Before going to the military academy, I used to get up at 6 a.m. My new lifestyle does not annoy me. I rather feel comfortable," Leaticia says with a big smile.
Leaticia speaks with faith, confident in the Lord that she will be what she has always dreamed of being: a military doctor, to treat the sick and provide her family with money to buy enough food.
"If the instructors in the Compassion-assisted child development center pray for me, I will succeed", she says before adding, "When I took the military school exam, before I received the results I was praying to God everyday to help me succeed, and I succeeded."
Leaticia can still remember the hallmarks of the teaching she received when she was first registered with Compassion: Love God, trust Him to have everlasting life, love others. These truths were what led her to give her life to Jesus as her grandmother did years ago. She now prays every day for the salvation of her mother and brothers and sisters.
At times Leaticia feels the weight of difficulties. But the words of her sponsor resound in her mind: "Even if you meet some difficulties, go ahead."
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