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Mujeres en Cambio Launches Twenty-First Year of Scholarships

20190412_1227551555368705

By Mary Norquist

In 1998, three years after the founding of Mujeres en Cambio (MEC), the first class of students in secundaria and preparatoria (junior high and high school) received scholarships to assist them to stay in school. Many deserving young women with high grade point averages drop out of school when their free education ends and they must pay for tuition, school supplies, books, uniforms, transportation, and other costly items.

As is customary in most of México, the boys in a family will stay in school, but the young women will drop out because the expenses are too high. They will stay home and help with housework, childcare, and even, in some cases, start working with a parent as a maid.

Since the inception of its scholarship program, MEC has served more than 900 girls. In the 2018–2019 school year, MEC provided scholarships to 187 girls from 46 villages surrounding San Miguel de Allende for a total of 1,738,010 pesos. Of those, 113 of the recipients were in secundaria and preparatoria and received 5,500 pesos each for the year. Fifty-six of the recipients were at a university and received 20,500 pesos each for the school year.

Throughout the school calendar, we distribute scholarships to our qualifying students every two months. To qualify, the girls must bring their scholastic records proving that they have maintained a minimum GPA of 8.5 out of ten. Recipients travel to San Miguel for a two-day event, during which they receive their scholarship funds and attend workshops aimed at helping with their success in school and life. The workshops cover such topics as gender equality, domestic abuse, sex education, and career planning. Many times, the female members of the recipient’s family accompany her; they are also welcome to attend the workshops.

“We are so proud of our girls,” says Guadalupe Arioli, Mujeres en Cambio president. “We’ve seen so many young women grow into productive and contributing members of society.” University students have graduated with degrees in fields such as accounting, engineering, medicine, business innovation and development, and teaching.

“When you educate women, you are impacting their entire family,” adds Arioli. “We know we are making a difference.”

For more information about Mujeres en Cambio, go to www.mujeresencambio.org. The website is in both English and Spanish.

 

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