Don’t Give Up: Inspiring Words from Dahiana

Written by Ava Stratman
Edited by Brianna Canty

“I have a 100% certainty that we can change the world.” Those 10 words hold so much power. They hold faith, hope, determination, joy, pride, and so much more. For Dahiana, a 16-year-old girl in Paraguay, this is possible.

Anything is possible.

The Beginning

In 2018, a man named Walter came to Paraguay. It was not his first trip, as he was the co-founder of a very important organization: Girls Soccer Worldwide.

This story starts in a small village. Walter was working with a high school girl who was an important part of his program as an Ambassador: a female leader and student devoted to helping her community and learning leadership skills. While Walter was at her house, the Ambassador’s little sister (a twelve-year-old girl) ran away and hid to avoid getting filmed. A little over four years later, that little girl, Dahiana, is now a big part of that program and she has worked with Walter ever since that fateful day.

My Talk With Dahiana

Dahiana has many big dreams, such as playing in the big leagues, being a neurosurgeon, and teaching. “Discipline is the most important thing because it will help you to be able to achieve what you want to achieve and where you want to go,” she says. Dahiana believes that discipline is one of the most essential qualities for a soccer player and a girl to have.

“Dahiana is very inspirational, very happy all the time,” Walter comments fondly. Besides having big dreams for the future, she is currently involved in Girls Soccer Worldwide, working hard to help her community.

“It’s incredible to be able to know that you can help somebody else, even if it’s a little grain of sand, but it’s a beautiful thing, being able to help other people in need.” That was the main motivation for Dahiana to join the program. She says that they told her, “We help you, you help others.”

The Impact of GSWW

She remembers a time not too long ago when she was in need and Girls Soccer Worldwide helped her.

“This is incredible because we were able to help people that had a lot of need and I went through that as well, and now I’m helping others and that’s the part that I like the most. When I turn 18, I want to be able to help even in a bigger way; to be able to help all the people who are in need, like they helped me when I was in need, but also to help (Girls Soccer Worldwide).”

To be able to take such pride in your work and where you’ve come is an accomplishment in itself, but Dahiana does so much more. For example, she works in schools helping to teach dance classes and P.E. classes for the younger kids.

She credits a lot of her success to Girls Soccer Worldwide.

“The experience I have with them, it has been very, very good. My self-esteem went completely out the roof and I’m able to communicate and able to reach out to other people much more now than before. I keep learning every day with them something new and the experience I have with them is incredible.”

Dahiana’s Passion

While Dahiana’s social skills were growing, so too were her soccer skills. She works very hard and has made a lot of friends in the process.

“It’s my hope that women’s soccer grows even more in my community. I hope people will see that they’re just only girls playing soccer and that the girls like to play soccer and they can play soccer as well. And don’t give up, because people are going to come and say negative things to you, just because you’re a girl, and you deserve to be able to play so if you want to get there with discipline, you’re going to do it, because you’re a woman and you deserve it,” she says, conveying a strong, inspirational message. 

Inspiring Others, Leading Change

Dahiana is a role model, not just for young girls around her community, but for everyone around the world. Her message and story are a part of many others that deserve to be shared as well.

Let’s work together to make the world a better place.

Change one, change thousands.

About the Author

Ava Stratman is a 13-year-old from Northern Vermont. She loves soccer, Nordic skiing, reading, writing, drawing, and being outside.

She is passionate about climate change, equality, learning, and justice. In the future, Ava wants to continue playing soccer and get a job that she likes.

Fun Fact: Interviewing Dahiana and writing this blog post was Ava’s mitzvah project!

*Ava has set up a funding page for Dahiana. You can find it here: Ava’s Fundraising Page. All donations will go to directly helping Dahiana and her family!

Change One.
Change Thousands.
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Previous Blog: A Passion Project Close to the Heart

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  1. Jim Slatet says:

    This is an amazing story about uniting young women who love to play soccer, getting them to recognize their own strengths and skills and using those skills to influence others with the aim of making this planet a better place to live . So SO admirable and worthwhile.

    • Pamela says:

      Hi Jim, Thank you for your kind words! I am grateful for our community from our team to inspiring words like yours, it all makes a difference. This interview was an incredible way to celebrate girls regardless of where they are and Ava wrote a beautiful recap of their time together. We are always stronger together!

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