Paula, a fifth grade student in the Right To Play program at Coroa School in Zambezia, Mozambique, dreams of becoming a doctor. But just a year ago, that dream seemed like one she might never realize. When her mother died and she went to live with her aunt, Paula was forced to drop out of school to work as a nanny.
Cacilda, a Right To Play trained teacher at Coroa School, heard about Paula's situation and she sought out Paula and her aunt. Cacilda invited Paula to join Right To Play Play Days and activities, which had just started at the school. Paula began participating in the program in her time off from nannying. She loved it, and her aunt saw the benefits – Paula was happier, more confident and making new friends. After speaking with Cacilda and seeing Paula flourish with Right To Play, her aunt reenrolled her in Coroa School.
Back in school, Paula is taking the first steps to achieving her dream of being a doctor. She is a dedicated student who enjoys school and excels. "My favorite subjects are Natural Sciences because I learn about the human body," Paula explains.
In Mozambique, 60 per cent of the population live in rural areas, with limited access to health services. Despite a publically funded health system, universal access to health care is still not a reality due to a serious shortage of trained health workers. Paula has witnessed first-hand how this has impacted her family and her community.
Paula lost both of her parents to disease, and as her grandparents have aged she has watched them struggle to find accessible, reliable healthcare. Her sister has a baby, and as Paula explains, "When the child gets sick I cannot help because I do not know what to do and there is no one to help taking care of the child."
Right To Play programs helped bring Paula back to school and are helping her to stay there. Along with what she's learning in her formal lessons, she is gaining the confidence, motivation and resilience she needs to stay on track to realize her ambition of becoming a doctor. So confident that she already knows exactly where her focus will be when that happens. "Firstly," she says "I want to take care of babies and children."
Right To Play's Play for the Advancement of Quality Education (PAQE) programming launched in 2015 in eight countries with financial support from the Government of Canada provided through Global Affairs Canada. In Tanzania, Rwanda and Mozambique, PAQE is further supported by the LEGO Foundation and uses Right To Play's play-based approach to improve learning outcomes for children and youth aged 2 -15 years through a sustainable and replicable child-centered, play-based learning model.