Today Ivoneide is a Leadership Development Program student studying pedagogy. Her goal is to work on behalf of children's causes.
There were two paths in front of Ivoneide's house. If she walked less than 15 steps straight ahead, she would be taught to follow God's path and would receive school support to supplement the weak education at her school. If she turned to the right, she would end up like most of the girls who lived in her neighborhood growing up too fast due to poverty, having babies one after another, illiterate, watching dreams die day by day until those dreams eventually wilt and die, getting used to the misery.
Ivoneide chose to walk straight ahead and study at Compassion-assisted Child Development Center Projeto Atalaia (BR-232) located near her house. There, she had to make another choice either study the average amount and participate in compulsory events and activities, or study more than was requested and participate in other events, including offering to help in the organization of these events.
Again, Ivoneide chose the harder path and during the years that she attended the center, she was known for being proactive and for her hard work, interest and determination. These characteristics and her teachable heart led the young girl to earn a place among Brazil's first class of Leadership Development Program (LDP) students.
A Childhood Marked by Sorrow
"I'm the first in my family to attend university," says the third-year pedagogy student. This is a big responsibility and a great achievement, considering her background. Ivoneide is the first daughter of a troubled marriage. When Ivoneide was just a baby, her father started to date another woman, despite being married.
"But he didn't decide to separate from my mom immediately. Instead, he started to assault her and even when he finally left my house to live with his girlfriend, he used to return home and beat my mother," remembers Ivoneide. She also remembers the nights when she awoke frightened, hearing her father threatening to kill her mother and throw her body in a mud pit.
A few years after she finally divorced, Maria, Ivoneide's mother, married a man named Paulo. He assumed the family as his own family, and finally Ivoneide and her brother had a father taking care of them. Her mother and stepfather both work at the center.
Despite the hardship she endured growing up, Ivoneide never refers to her past with anger or hurt. Ivoneide knows that God is King over her life, and she has a grateful heart because of everything that He has done.
Ivoneide Proclaims God's Goodness
"Oh, see how God is good! On the same year that I was graduating from the child sponsorship program, the Leadership Development Program opened here in Brazil, and just in my city! It is not a coincidence," exclaims Ivoneide. The LDP process was a step of faith for her. During it, Ivoneide sometimes became anxious, but it helped her to leave her worries in God's hands and she did her best.
"I never thought (I would) be able to get into a university due to my past. To study in a university was just a dream beyond my reach," says the young girl. Now she is living a dream that once seemed impossible.
Ivoneide attends the third year of pedagogy classes at Cearense College in the morning. She takes two buses to go to school and two buses to return to her house. Overall, the trip takes her three hours every day. In the afternoon, she goes to her internship, and when she returns to her house in the evening she studies for more than one hour and a half.
"I could never pay for a university, transportation, snacks and student materials. The Leadership Development Program is a blessing in my life," says Ivoneide. She also enjoys the regular meetings with other LDP students. According to Ivoneide, the other LDP students are her second family. "To be a LDP student is a dream that became true and also is the base through which I can achieve other dreams."
"If I Had Not Been Sponsored &"
Studying at a university with people from different beliefs has been a challenge for Ivoneide and an opportunity to show God's love. She knows that if wasn't for the center in her life, her future could be different. "Maybe I was not a Christian & and if I had not been sponsored, maybe my life (would be) so different!"
Ivoneide loves pedagogy, specifically children's development. Her goal is to work on behalf of children's causes as an advocate and influence.
"For many times people judge us saying that we can't be anything in our lives, that we don't have value. But when we study deeply the Word of God we can see a future and this future is in God's hands," concludes Ivoneide.
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