Andressa: Courage to chase her dreams | Plan International Skip to main content

Andressa: Courage to chase her dreams

Andressa’s story doesn’t begin very differently from the stories of many other girls in Timbiras, a small town in the state of Maranhão with about 30,000 inhabitants. Apart from the difficulties to access basic conditions such as sanitation and health services, the issue that worries the girl and her mother the most is public transportation, since the young woman had to travel long distances her whole life to stay in school.


Andressa is what can be described as a sociable person. Extremely warm, she has a calm voice, and with her there is no subject that does not guarantee a good conversation. But the young woman explains that it was not always so. Coming from a past where the only social situation she knew were church services, every matter involving sex and reproductive rights was considered inappropriate for her and the other children. Soon, the girl realized she was growing up without enough information.

Then, at age 14, Andressa discovered the Healthy Adolescent Program, when Plan came to her school. Participating of one of the first program classes, the possibility to talk openly among equals opened up a world before her eyes. The Healthy Adolescent Program has as its main objective to empower girls and boys on issues involving their sexual and reproductive rights, so that they can engage in any sphere on the subject and, above all, multiply the program's concepts to other teens.

It was the door Andressa needed to give vent to all her will to speak and be heard. After becoming a multiplier of the program, Andressa tells us that she has become a kind of reference on the subject for her entire family and neighbourhood. Even her brother asks her for advice. Something that for parents, at first, might have seemed like "teenage rebellion" is now perceived by her mother as essential to the development of her full potential.

Besides being very eloquent, Andressa is a young woman who’s interested in culture. She’s in love with music and writing. And it is for being so empowered that she has the courage to make her own ways. Recently, unsatisfied with the options that her region offered her and studying Physiotherapy in college – the only possibility for her, taking into account her timetables and the distance to get to the university – she made the bold decision to change course, moving to a different city and going after her dream: studying Journalism.

Today, more than just a Plan adolescent, the girl who was once shy and would rather not speak has become a partner of the organization. It is not hard to see her participating in events such as seminars and conversation circles, or even heading of some of them as a Presenter. Although the beginning of her life story was not very different from so many other stories in her region, one thing is clear to her and everyone around her: Andressa walks a unique path, full of success.