According to a 2015 study by UNFPA, 15.5% of young people in Paraguay are neither in school or work. 74% of this group are female, often due to poor access to training in rural areas, lack of funds for setting up new enterprises and long-standing gender-based discrimination.
To address this issue, Plan International launched the Sape’a Employability and Entrepreneurship Programme to improve the social and economic status of 8,000 adolescents and young people from rural communities in Paraguay. The programme, which means 'open your eyes' in the indigenous Guarani language, is the result of an agreement between Plan International and the Ministry of Labour in Paraguay.
As part of the programme, co-financed by the Spanish Agency for International Cooperation (AECID), Monica took part in one of our training courses held near her community to learn how to become a commercial cashier.
After finishing the course, the programme contacted local companies to arrange internships for the students. It was through this that Monica arrived at the company Ultra, a gas station, and restaurant.
She first started as an intern in the customer service area, where thanks to her good attitude and responsibility, she was hired and promoted to be an administrator of the company, within a few months.
Married with an eight-year-old daughter, Monica is now juggling her work with her studies: "Having a life, being married, having a daughter, studying and working is not easy, but you can do it if you try."