We are involved with this program so I wanted to make a quick post as to what we are doing with it and what it is about. First off let me tell that we are sponsoring a child via this program, I think you will understand why by the time I am done writing this. Secondly, we have donated Hosting for their site, that we developed for them too. We will be training the Peace Corp Volunteer that is helping run the program too. I think our involvement to this extent gives you an idea oh how much we like this program. So what is it you are wondering.
This Scholarship Program started in Cotacachi in 2007 I believe with just a few students and now has 65 students in the program and they hope to grow to 100 by next year. The government provides education up to the 6th grade and after that the families have to pay. I don’t know if the families have to pay for everything or pay part of it. It is 6 more years of education and it costs the families $300 per student per year. That may not sound like a lot but, the wages are low here and if you have several kids in the upper grades that can add up to the point where they just don’t have the money. Let me backup a little to give you a framework.
Back a few years, like say in the 70’s the indigenous were exploited and uneducated for the most part. Gradually since that time things have gotten much better for them and they are realizing the value of an education. They are realizing that with an education they can stay in the community with their family and have jobs. Now to tie things together a little.
With this program, we as sponsors of a child pay $200 for the year and the family pays $100 per year per student. But now is where the cool part starts. The child gets a portion of the money now. That is, after they sign a contract. In the following photo you can see Paige, the Peace Corp volunteer explain to the parents about the contract.
You see what they have to do is pay for all of the School supplies and that kind of stuff. In February, the child has to come with school progress and attendance records as well as receipts that total up to the amount of money they were given. If they can’t account for all the money and a good school record they do not get anything more.
Today all of us were there, sponsors, along with the parents and the kids. The kids and the parents got to meet the sponsors. The parents of the child we sponsored were there and I met him. The place was packed with people as you can get an idea of from this picture.
What you couldn’t see in that last picture was that it was standing room only with people standing in the doorway and out in the hall too. It was well attended to say the least.
The site we are providing is up at www.aseacecuador.org As of this writing, think of the site as in Beta. We still need to train and get the approval that everything is right and looks the way they want it too. When they take control of it is when current content will start being added to it. Right now you can see some of what has gone on in the past. We think that once you look into this you will agree with us this is a great program that a lot of people are spending time and effort to make sure it is done right.