Over Thanksgiving break, junior Kyla Dolorfino and senior Taylor Matthews traveled to Paraguay to donate school supplies and teach young girls in poverty how to play soccer. They went with a local organization called Girls Soccer Worldwide, alongside other students from the Bay Area.
“The girls were so excited that we were coming that they couldn’t sleep all night,” said Matthews.
Girls Soccer Worldwide aims to empower young girls to rise out of poverty through sports and education. The students held open clinics to teach the girls how to play soccer in Coronel Bogado, Paraguay. They spent much of their time with the girls and experienced a glimpse of their daily lives.
“It was very eye opening to see how happy they were, even though they had so little,” said Matthews.
For one week, Dolorfino and Matthews witnessed the many differences between life in Paraguay and the United States. They visited several homes of families living in poverty, realizing how privileged people in the Bay Area are to have stable homes with electricity. Some homes had dirt floors and ceilings made of sheet metal, with some houses costing a total of $80. Furniture was placed on stone stilts to keep from the mud on the floor when it rained. Many families didn’t have access to technology and school supplies or couldn’t afford an education.
Throughout the year, Matthews and Dolorfino held fundraisers with Girls Soccer Worldwide to raise money for school supplies, backpacks, clothes, and laptops to give to families. They packed the supplies and visited several schools throughout Paraguay delivering them to children and their parents. The organization also sponsored adults to go back to school for a year to learn how to read and write and donated laptops to a local college.
“I learned to be grateful for everything I have and to take the opportunities that are given to me,” said Dolorfino.