Joel Myer and Michael Jaeger reported to the noon Rotary Club about their April trip to El Salvador and our club’s sponsorship of ten young women to attend high school. Joel introduced the young women to the club and gave details about each scholarship winner. The candidates are carefully screened by the El Salvador Foundation, an NGO based in Denver with representatives on the ground in the city of San Salvador. The young women selected must show a need, demonstrate academic and character strengths, and must be willing to participate in monthly workshops. Each young woman is given funding for uniforms, books, school supplies, and most importantly, transportation to school. Since mean income is somewhere around $150 per month for each of these student’s families, budgeting $20 for bus fare is impossible. Without a scholarship, these young women would stay home, care for siblings and marry at an early age.
The La Grande Rotary Club has made this an important activity in our focus on youth and has budgeted $3000 per year to support these young women. Our money is channeled through the El Salvador Foundation and all funds go to the students distributed in small monthly sums and dependent on academic performance and workshop participation. The Club raises the funds for this project from La Grande Rotary Foundation Funds ($1000), a matching grant from District 5100 ($1000) and from individuals in the Club who would like to sponsor a specific recipient. For a $100 gift to the La Grande Rotary Foundation, a Rotarian can sponsor a young woman for a year and receive communications from that student during the academic year. Rotarians interested in sponsoring a young woman should contact email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. Gifts are tax deductible.
At the close of the presentation, Joel showcased Sonia, a graduate of the high school scholarship program. She showed great academic potential and won a different scholarship through the El Salvador Foundation allowing her to go to college. She is now in her medical internship and will become a doctor this next year. She will not only be the first college graduate from her village, but she will also make an impact on her community by paying forward the gift of an education she received from generous Rotarians and others. Education, especially for women, is an empowering tool that changes a community and helps improve the lives of these poor farmer workers.