The power of high school (prepa) scholarships
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 rural communities outside of 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 students who are determined to be most deserving with scholarships (becas) to cover all costs of attending high school (including transportation). Additionally, the recipients are mentored through their high school education by the Institute’s staff and volunteers.
Palmona, a current scholarship recipient, hopes to become a preschool teacher and dreams of continuing her education in the United States one day. This year the Rural Education Institute of Mexico has a record number of scholarship applications from its programming participants. While the Rural Education Institute hopes to provide scholarships for all of its programming participants, they need help from the San Miguel community to ensure that all of these promising students have a chance at a better future.
A donation of US$750 covers the fees and transportation costs for one year of high school for one student. Please consider showing your support of rural education by making a donation to the Rural Education Institute of Mexico’s scholarship program today.
Daniel, one of the Rural Education Institute’s past scholarship recipients, said this about the impact of the scholarship and the involvement of the Rural Education Institute of Mexico: “The experience of attending high school has been great and I have really enjoyed it and learned a lot. Thanks to this experience I have another door open to me for my future. Thank you for the help you have given me and the push to continue moving forward in my life.”
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.
As Mexico has become the second largest economy in Latin America, there remains a stark inequality in the country’s education system—rural Mexico’s 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 travel and work in rural community centers, providing programs that introduce children to a world outside the campo. 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. We also provide opportunities to children so they can meet the costs of going to high school—about US$750 per student per year—by awarding scholarships.
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.