A loan of $1,675 helped to pay for her masters degree in Human Rights.

Laura's story

Laura, 24, was born in Medellín, Colombia. She is currently studying Social Work at the University of Antioquia through a PAES scholarship which was awarded to the best high school student in Colombia.

Laura's goal is to get a master's in Human Rights from Harvard or the London School of Economics. The Kiva support will help her pay for her GRE preparation courses, the TOEFL exam registration and application costs to universities, since she does not have the economic resources to pay for it.

This is her story:

"The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why." Mark Twain

Like for many, one of the most difficult and important decisions for me was deciding what field of study to go into, as a life-long project, to find out why I am here. Now, five years later, I could not be more proud of my decicion: Social Work. To find the apex between what you love, what you are good at and what the world needs, is the luck of only a few.

Since I was a little girl I have had a huge social sensitivity, belonging to youth groups, parishes, and having excellent academic results. I was granted a scholarship for the best high school student, and that is when I decided to use my skills to study social sciences. Throughout my academic career I have found much affinity with human rights and I have realized that its guarantee to society is fundamental. That is why I want to dedicate my life to fighting for its complete fulfillment. I feel I have the skills for it; however, at this time I am limited economically.

I am self-taught and learned English independently. To pay for my studies I have taught English at several institutions. In Brazil I had the opportunity of working as an interpreter for the UN at the Rio + 20 event.

My grade point average is 4.2 out of 5 and I have much international experience. The most important one was working for an NGO in Brazil, using my professional knowledge and helping change society.

The total cost of post-graduate studies applications overseas is equivalent to five months of work, without including the fact that in order to work as a student internationally, I had to take on many costs related to travel tickets, maintenance, etc.

After I finish my master's and return to Colombia, I would like to work for a United Nations agency, managing research projects for development in my region. During my undergraduate studies I had the opportunity to work on a research project with a UN agency, the PNUD about forced displacement in eastern Antioquia, and we designed an intervention proposal. What I like most is the research aspect of social problems and how to apply it to concrete resolution of said problems. But in order to have a significant influence, one must have a strong training background, and that is why a post-graduate degree is necessary.

As part of the regional talent seedbed of COLFUTURO, I can guarantee that the support of the KIVA Foundation will be totally rewarded through my work as a professional and my contribution to my country, upon my return.

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Translated from Spanish by Kiva volunteer Sherry Bess

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