The Second Step in Our Recipe
Once families can gain control of their fertility, they inevitably turn to education as the next step in improving quality-of-life. Parents (who might be illiterate themselves) are passionate about giving their children the best possible future through schooling. They know full well that education is the key to their children’s future and to developing their community.
As early as 1979, we began to personally tutor adults and children in our valley in basic skills and literacy. Over the years, those early informal lessons have evolved into our Rural Education initiative. Amongst marginal rural populations in the past, educational progress was only slowly made from one generation to the next, but we are offering these children from illiterate families the opportunity to go all the way to college in one generation! This is real impact at a low cost.
Rural High School Scholarship Program
Each year, the Foundation sponsors up to 60 low-income students who are striving to graduate from remote rural high schools. Before we instituted this program, most of these rural students abandoned their formal education at or before the sixth grade. Now, with our support, 500+ students have attended high school, and 100+ students have graduated!
Rural College Scholarship Program
We support selected students who have finished our high school program and are now continuing in higher education! These sponsored students receive special tutoring for the transition to college, and a stipend for transportation, books, and supplies. Many of these students live in remote areas and every day must hike long distances to the road and then wait for public transportation to college in town.
Five students from remote river valleys have now graduated from college (two as nurses, two as teachers, and one in commercial food production). This is a real first for this rural area! Several of these graduates, such as Johana and Marcela, continue to work with us as professionals, a real example of how our Recipe builds community from within, leveraging its own resources.
The Foundation opened its first rural library in 2004 with the help of the regional State University. The library is currently located in our Rural Education Center, a several hour hike from the nearest road, and offers computers, a library facility and study area, and tutoring for primary and secondary school and college students in close coordination with the local public elementary and high school.
Subsidized School Supplies
Rural students can obtain school supplies at subsidized prices through our Centros Escolares. Mothers and their student daughters operate these small outlets out of their homes, and receive a small percentage of the sales.
Our computer literacy program offers students of all ages vital access to computers and Internet service in our urban cyber center and our remote rural library. Community activists use our computers to create proposals seeking government and institutional support.
Rural Elementary and High Schools
The Foundation is a reliable source of support for the rural schools in our remote focus valley. We supplement school supplies and transportation, and support opportunities in academic improvement for the valley-based teachers. We helped to build the new school cafeteria, successfully re-activated and assist the state school lunch program, and offer additional funding for various school activities.
We funded the construction and startup of the first rural kindergarten and child care center in our rural area. The kindergarten is now staffed by the Ministry of Education and serves more than 50 children, while the Foundation continues to provide supplementary support as needed.