Compassion Works: Maria’s Story

Maria made a promise to herself as a young child that she would be a doctor — a kind, good doctor who would care about those living in desperate poverty. See how her determination made it possible to keep that promise.

Compassion Works: Maria’s Story
Behind the Scenes With Maria

Maria Choque is a graduate of Compassion’s Leadership Development Program in Bolivia. Maria graduated in 2010 and is now in her third year of pediatric residency at German Urquidi Hospital in Cochabamba. She has a strong interest in helping teenagers, a group she feels is often overlooked in Bolivia. After graduating, Maria hopes to return to her hometown of Oruro and start a foundation specifically to help teenagers.

In this behind-the-scenes interview with Maria, read more about her passion for reaching teenagers.

Where do you think your interest in serving teenagers comes from?

Well, there are two points there. I came to Christ when I was a teen and also I realized that teens are very strong — they are the strength of our country. If we lead teenagers, we can build…our country. Also, Jesus grew in size and wisdom and in grace unto others, and this is what the Bible teaches.

When you finish your final year here of pediatric specialty studies, what are your plans?

I always dreamed about teenagers and I continue dreaming with them, so there are things I have to do still. The first one is that I still have to further and get another specialization in ephebiatrics, which has to deal specifically with teenagers. With this specialization, I plan to return to Oruro and there start a foundation. Not a clinic, but a foundation where I can tend to teenagers in different areas. I want to tend the health area, the spiritual area and the emotional area, but I also want to insert recreational activities. I remember that as a child and as a teen I always had to study outside of my house, either at a library or at the school. I know that with this I am going to have to invest a lot in the financial area and in the health area too, because this is a group that is being highly neglected

Why do you think the adolescent group in particular is neglected?

The teenager is the strength of the country, and when the teen reaches that stage he or she is actually coming out of childhood, like awakened to life, and there can be several needs. Also, the teenager is strong and the teen will see injustice happening. Therefore, the teen wants to confront the injustice and his eyes are opened and he just wants to confront those situations. But there is also lots of violence in our country. The teens at home will be mistreated, will be abused and will be neglected, and some of them also will get married at an early age. Therefore they start losing the strength they have or they will get into drinking, diseases, and family structures also fall. The teenager's development gets stuck there; does not go any farther.