06/05/2011 02:26 pm ET Updated Aug 05, 2011

UNICEF Peace-Building Program Helps Timor-Leste Teens Shape Their Futures

For adolescents growing up in a Timor-Leste neighborhood notorious for gang fights and youth violence, hitting the books and shooting some hoops can go a long way.

The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), which provides humanitarian assistance to children in developing countries, reports on how their peace-building program is empowering young men and women to pursue their dreams. Through sports and life skills classes, teens acquire the knowledge and healthy attitudes that will allow them to effectively address the challenges they face.

A UNICEF-supported and inspiring young woman shares her dreams of becoming a basketball player and escaping hardship through her pursuit of education:

"My main concern is how to continue my study and at least finish my secondary school. I hope my family can continue to support me to finish my studies. I want to look after my parents and my siblings. We want to move forward."