|   Posted: September 01, 2019

“I’m just stupid.” Sharith spoke those words often. But when she said them to the staff at her Compassion center, they knew they needed to speak out against that lie. Read how they used every resource they had to help this struggling little girl.

Speaking Against the Lies

“I’m just stupid.” Sharith spoke those words often. But when she said them to the staff at her Compassion center, they knew they needed to speak out against that lie. Read how they used every resource they had to help this struggling little girl.

Sharith

Sharith could only explain her struggles in one way: “I am stupid.”

She spoke those words daily. She said them when she struggled to read the pages that her younger classmates breezed through. She said them when she failed yet another test. She said them when her peers laughed at her as she stumbled through a math problem on the board.

At 7 years old, Sharith dreaded going to school. She was repeating the first grade but wasn’t making progress. Her mother, Yeimi, was anxious, and as the days went by, she was losing hope that her daughter would pass this second try at first grade.

“I began to wonder if perhaps it would be best if Sharith no longer went to school,” says Yeimi. “I thought she wasn’t trying hard enough.”

But Sharith’s tutor at her Compassion center began to wonder if Sharith’s struggles had anything to do with how hard she was trying. Her tutor alerted the Center Director, Deniluz, who had also noticed how sad Sharith appeared and how she often isolated herself from the other children at the center.

When Deniluz visited Sharith’s home, she was met with a frustrated mother and a sad little girl who felt like a failure.

Sharith reads a book
Sharith and her friend

“I was very sad for my child, but I did not know how to help her,” says Yeimi. “I used to get angry and scold her because she was not making any progress in her studies. I thought she was maybe too old for school.”

Deniluz told Yeimi not to give up. Immediately, the center staff began providing Sharith with extra classes and special tutoring to help her improve her school performance. In addition, Deniluz decided to look for professional help for Sharith. She first sought the advice of a psychologist, who determined that Sharith needed speech therapy. Since Colombia’s subsidized health care program doesn’t cover speech therapy, the center paid for her treatment.

Sharith was then taken to a neuropsychologist, who diagnosed her with a developmental disorder and short-term memory problems. With this diagnosis in hand, Yeimi was then able to obtain the subsidized health care needed to provide her daughter the medical treatment and therapy she required.

“We at the Compassion center would not accept that Sharith was stupid,” says Deniluz. “We knew that she was intelligent and that something else was going on with her. So we intervened and started getting Sharith appointments with medical specialists. We put all our effort into helping her to overcome her difficulties.”

It was a joyous day when Sharith ran into the center and announced that she had finally passed the first grade. But the staff at the center wasn’t finished yet!

The following year, the center continued to support Sharith with a tutor who specializes in academic reinforcement. She attended tutoring four days a week, and as a result, her school performance completely turned around. The little girl who had to repeat first grade graduated from second grade as one of the top five students in her class!

Today, at age 10, Sharith is in third grade. Instead of focusing on her failures, she now loves to talk about her plans for the future. She says her sponsor encourages her through her letters, and she wants to be a fashion designer when she grows up.

“I want to have my own sewing machine and make clothes for everyone,” says Sharith. “I have told my sponsor what I want to be, and she supports me.”

Will you speak a message of truth to a child like Sharith who needs to hear that she is loved, valued and worth investing in by sponsoring another child today?