Providing scholarships to students living in rural communities
By Lexi Stickel
Waking up at 5am, getting dressed in the dark, quickly eating, walking to the main highway, catching the bus into town, transferring to another bus, then another bus, and finally arriving at school around 7am — this is the typical morning for a high school student living in one of the rural communities outside San Miguel de Allende.
The closest high schools (preparatorias) for most students living in rural communities are located in San Miguel. For a student to attend high school, a family must pay for tuition, examination fees, uniforms, books, supplies and, most importantly, transportation into the city. Most low-income families in rural areas cannot afford these expenses.
The Rural Education Institute of Mexico provides educational programs in rural communities to prepare young people for high school as well as providing libraries and computer labs in the communities in which the Institute works. Currently, the Rural Education Institute has programs in La Palma and Jalpa.
Those students who are determined to be most deserving are awarded with scholarships (becas) to cover all costs of attending high school (including transportation) and are mentored through their high school education by the Institute’s staff and volunteers.
Kristal, one of our scholarship recipients, said this about the impact of the scholarship and the involvement of the Rural Education Institute of Mexico: “My studies over these past three years have been great and full of learning which has motivated me to continue my studies in my chosen field of agricultural engineering. Another great help has been the mutual support, which I have received from both my family and the Rural Education Institute of Mexico. This group of people has supported me both economically and emotionally throughout these last three years so I could realize my dream. For this I am eternally grateful. Thank you.”
This past year three young people graduated from high school with the help of the Rural Education Institute of Mexico. Currently, two of those students went on to attend university and one of them has a well-paying job in Mexico.
Though Mexico has the second largest economy in Latin America, there remains a stark inequality in the country’s education system – rural Mexico children simply do not have the same opportunities as their urban counterparts. The problem is partly financial (there are few high schools in the campo, and the government does not provide transportation for rural children to attend urban schools), and partly cultural (in rural areas, literacy is low, and education is not always a priority). The Rural Education Institute of Mexico exists to help fill this gap, and to give rural children the incentive and means to go on to high school, and beyond.
Our skilled volunteers work in rural community centers, providing programs that introduce children to a world outside the campo. In addition to scholarships, we build libraries and help children improve their reading. Children learn art, drama and English, among other subjects, and are taught to use computers that we supply.
For a tax-deductible contribution of US$750, you can assure that a deserving young person living in a rural community can attend high school in San Miguel. This contribution covers all fees and expenses including transportation, tuition, exams, books, supplies and uniforms. Of course, a tax-deductible contribution in any amount will be greatly appreciated.
For more information about the Rural Education Institute of Mexico, please visit our website at www.ruralmex.org or call us at 415-124-1357.