Monday, August 30, 2010

the scholarship fund

While I often write about and share the stories of our students here in Carmen Pampa, I think the most powerful stories come directly from them.

The letter I received yesterday outlines common difficulties faced in order for young men and women to study at the UAC-CP.

So, with my own translation and a few edits to protect identities and provide context, I'm sharing a letter that I received from a UAC-CP student who came to talk with me yesterday about his inability to pay for College this semester. As I do for all students who seek help (mostly because there are so many that I need help remembering), I asked him to write me a letter.
Carmen Pampa, 29 de Agosto 2010
Dear Sarah,

First, I greet you very respectfully. You are a person to whom I wish much success in the work that you do day after day.

I'm writing you this letter to ask a huge favor. I am hoping you might be able to find me a person who could help me pay for my tuition and food costs so that I can continue my studies at this College. Sarah, I ask you for this favor and help because my family can't help me--they have very few economic resources.

I have four other brothers and I am the last child in the family. My siblings are adults and have their own families and children and it is for that reason that they are unable to help me financially. My mom is older and is physically unable to work very hard. My mother also has her husband and he works, but is injury in a mining accident prevents him from earning very much. My father died when I was in high school and even when he was alive he didn't support me because my parents divorced when I was just 8-years-old.

Ever since I was just a little kid I've always wanted to study. For that reason I supported myself in high school when I had to pay for my school materials. I worked hard to make it. None of my older four siblings were able to study--none of them finished grade school. I am the only one in the family that has struggled and fought in order to continue studying at the college level. I do it because I want to be the pride of my family, of my community.

In order to do this, I work during vacation to be able to pay for my tuition and food cooperative dues. But now things are more complicated for me as my economic situation has worsened. I'm in my fourth semester of studies in Agronomy and I am unable to afford to pay for my studies and food because in the most recent vacation [month of July] I didn't have very much success in my work. I paid the registration fee, but up until now I still haven't paid the first month's tuition.

I want to continue studying at the UAC-CP. Since I was a child I have had to look for strategies that would allow me to continue studying in grade school and high school. And that's how I have arrived to where I am today--studying here at the College.

My father wasn't able to see me graduate from high school because he died. And now I can't think of asking my beloved, older mother for financial help--I just hope that she will be able to see me graduate from college. (I invite you to meet my mother--we can travel together together to visit her in Mapiri. You are welcome to our humble home.)

With nothing more to add, I only ask that God always bless you and I wish you safe travels on your upcoming trip.

Reading between the lines of his letter, the second-year Agronomy student is asking for support of about $50 a month (the subsidized cost that students pay for tuition, room, and board--not the actual cost to educate them). While $50 isn't that much (maybe one night of dinner, movie, and drinks?) in the scheme of things, it's impossible for the average person to single-handedly provide that amount to all of our 700-some students.

That is why I encourage people to make donations to CPF's Scholarship Fund. Our Scholarship Partners Program allows the College to award scholarships to students based on academic achievement, behavior, and financial need. Of course, the amount of scholarships available is entirely dependent on the size of CPF's Scholarship Fund. The more money we raise, the more scholarships we can make available for students.

So, to those of you who give to the Scholarship Fund--MUCHISIMAS GRACIAS! Know that you provide amazing miracles with your gift. For those of you looking for a way to make a difference, please consider making a gift, in any amount, to CPF's Scholarship Fund!

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