Hi everyone – we're having another strong year with the Foundation – please read on!
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RURAL EDUCATION - From illiteracy to college in one generation! 
We now have 45 students in our rural high school scholarship program plus 15 students who have graduated and are continuing at the college level. Many of these youngsters come from illiterate families, live far from the road and travel by foot for several hours daily in order to study!
Every September, we receive new students graduating from the community primary school and bring them together with our ongoing high school scholarship students to distribute school supplies for the new academic year that begins in October. This kick-off is vital in setting the year's goals and expectations with the students. Some of these students are clearly capable of going on to college, but will need our counseling and material support to do so. Each of these students and our local staff have a real story to tell about how this remote rural valley and our Foundation have evolved together, working to create a more prosperous and successful future here.
Launching our Students into a New Academic Year!
Javier (left), our math and science tutor, is giving school supplies to Nairobis (right), the star student of her class. Yura, Nairobis' mother, was a teen-ager when her own mother died in childbirth, abruptly forcing her to give up her studies to care for her five younger siblings and devastated father. Nairobis has picked up where her mother had to leave off. She is planning to start college next year, fulfilling her mother's greatest dream, and we are full of hope for her!
Omaira (left), a rural staff member who studies in an adult literacy program herself, is giving school supplies to Oscar, son of local patriarch Pedro Maria Rodriguez. Now deceased, Pedro Maria worked at our remote farm and was a friend and mainstay in our lives for over 20 years. This magical campesino, entirely illiterate but full of wisdom of the land and its plants and animals, taught us a good deal of what we know about tropical farming and rural living.
Marcela (left), Javier and Juli, in the background, work part-time with the Foundation while they continue their own college studies. Marcela is our on-site rural education coordinator, and travels from her remote home to classes in town several days a week. Juli here reviews academic performance with each student when they receive their school supplies, and also works with our urban adoles-cents. Javier is giving school supplies to Inez (right), one of our more promising students.

FAMILY PLANNING: the Indispensable Step
Towards Empowering Women and Educating Girls.
It was Nairobis' grandmother Brunilde's death in childbirth in 1994 that motivated us to formally establish our Foundation. We will tell Brunilde and Yura's story in more detail in a coming newsletter, not only because it describes the tragic and unnecessary fate of so many women in the lesser-developed-world, but also because it was the sad inspiration for what has become our greatest success. From May 1997 through 2013, we have delivered over 70,000 demand-driven Couple Years of Protection (the USAID metric for evaluating family planning programs), and have become the leading health care provider of low-cost birth control and reproductive health education services in our state of Sucre.

Almost 20 years later, young Nairobis is growing up in this same rural world, but she and other young women and their families now have access to basic reproductive health services and should not have to give up their education as so many of their parents did. 
RURAL DEVELOPMENT: The First DURIANS in South America?
Since we began farming in Venezuela 35+ years ago, we have endeavored to expand the variety of crops available. Inspired by the vast benefits from the apples that settlers brought to North America, the mangos that Portuguese sailors brought from India to South America, and the oranges that horticulturists introduced from China, we have sought out dozens of species of lesser known tropical fruits to introduce here. 
Perhaps our exemplary introduction has been the prized and exotic Durian, which is difficult to establish due to the very short viability of its seeds. From a few fresh seeds rushed here by a friend working in Malaysia many years ago, we may now have the first producing Durian trees in Venezuela, and perhaps the only Durians in South America.
Shown in this photo are several loads of Durian brought down from our remote farm by pack animals. Foundation Board member Bob Albert has enjoyed taking this harvest into town where the large local Chinese population is amazed and delighted to see one of their favorite Asian fruits unexpectedly available here in South America.

Next to Bob are several little Durian seedlings grown from our own fruit. We have distributed many seedlings to local farmers, horticulturists and to the Central Agricultural University in Maracay for dissemination throughout the country. The goal of our agricultural program is to establish these fruits, plants, and seed as a real addition to the local and national food base and economy.
There is so much more to be done to extend these basic public health, education and development services to the low-income families of Venezuela and the world!  
Please help us 
to do so!!  
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