Good morning! If you are following my blog income reports on Make Money Your Way, you know that ever since that second website launched at the beginning of July 2013, I have pledged 10% of my blogging income to go to scholarships for young students in my village. You can check the full project here, the initial plan was to offer two scholarships to the best two girls about to graduate middle school, so they could go to high school or trade school.
At the moment, my education fund has $404 from July and $253 from August, $297 from September, $357 from October, $269 from November. Total: $1,580.
One of my readers also visited the village and decided to generously match my donations up to $2,000. He has already given me the full $2,000, even though the year hasn’t started, but I plan on spending way more than this, here are the details.
When I visited the school to offer the scholarships, I talked to the director and the professor who teaches third grade, which is the last before high school. I told them I wanted to favor girls, but in the end the best student was a boy, and the second a girl. As my initial offer was to send the best one to boarding school with a full ride for three years, I asked the girl who came second what she wanted to study.
I had told the class the second ranking kid would get a scholarship to trade school, but I visited the trade school myself and the options were very basic for girls, mostly nail decorations and beauty school, otherwise it was mechanic on cars or refrigeration, the only middle ground being cooking school
So when I asked the girl what she fancied, she said cooking school, but I saw she wasn’t really convinced. I was impressed she had taken the initiative to research the careers offered by the trade school (from a village 20 miles away with no internet access or no easily accessible information that is). I asked if she would like something else, like secretary school?
“If you give me the opportunity, I would love that”
“Better than cooking?”
“Yes, that would be much better”
“And what if anything was possible, what would you like to study?”
“Well, I’d like to be a primary school teacher”
I had made a quick calculation that with my surprise $2,000 donation from my reader I could afford boarding school for the two of them, so I asked
“Would you be able to study that at boarding school?”
“Yes, if you give me the opportunity, I would love to go”
“Would your parents let you?”
”yes, they would love for me to go as well”
“Well let’s go to boarding school then!”
It was really cute because she was so happy, she had settled on doing her best at trade school even though her secret wish was to study some more, because she was grateful for any opportunity. Her mum is a maid in Belize City who makes $300 a month, not even the minimum salary in Guatemala, but jobs are scarce around here, so she crosses the border illegally and goes work as a full time maid for some rich family. Her dad stays in the village raising five kids, and she is the eldest, so I hope she will be a great motivation for the other four.
The boy who graduated valedictorian is shy and introverted, and wants to become an accountant. He is really good at math and very motivated to go to boarding school too. The school was picked by my neighbor who is already sponsoring the valedictorians from the two previous years who pursue further education there. It is NOT cheap, but it is one of the best schools in the country.
We have now enrolled the kids, who are over the moon, and I have received the full pricing details.
First, they need to buy things for their dorms, as well as uniforms. They need a mattress, a light bulb (!), a Bible as it is a private school, bed sheets, curtains, a chair, a broom and a mop, and a bin. The dorms sleep four students sharing a bathroom and they are responsible for keeping it all clean and tidy. They are entitled half a dozen items of laundry every week, and if they use more, they have to wash it themselves.
The cost of tuition, including room, board, and something called labs usage totals $2,507 per kid, including a deposit for damages to the room of $30.
The cost of uniforms, for two tops two bottoms each and one sports uniform is $88 per kid. I hope they don’t grow up and this is a one off fee 🙂
The cost of the mattress and other household items is unknown, I would say $100 per kid.
Which brings me to a grand total of $2,695 per kid, $5,390 for the pair. Minus generous $2,000 reader donation, that leaves my share to $3,390.
The families will still have to pay for hygiene items, clothing outside of class, and return trips to the village, when the kids are free one weekend per month. That leaves them involved with the project and not taking it all for granted, although if they struggle to pay I will cover transportation, if they get good grades.
I have $1,580 in my fund to pay toward the $3,390 tuition, so I need another $1,810 by the end of the school year in December 2014. At the rate online income has been going, I should get it by May at the latest, and have June to December to stock up again, as next year, unless another good Samaritan offers to donate part of the tuition too, I am on my own to pay $5,000 in 2015 and again in 2016.
So that is $5,390 committed already, and at the same time, I am funding smaller scholarships for younger kids going to middle and primary school. The school requires they have shoes to attend class and some families don’t send the kids to school because they can’t afford the shoes. Or the supplies, or the uniform. It is around $30 to send a kid to school, so I told the teachers if a family can’t pay, they can send it to me and I will help them.
It is a full donation, meaning I don’t expect anything in return. Thank you would be nice, but they don’t have to draw me a picture or write a letter every month or anything, it is not like those sponsor a child programs, the child can keep being a child and go on with his/her life. I am planning on helping mostly little girls attend school.
So far, out of 30 kids who finished primary school, only 10 are registered for middle school, mainly because they don’t have the funds and will be going to work instead. If they don’t get 14 enrollments, the state won’t pay a teacher for the village. So I will at least try to get the 4 missing kids.
Between primary and middle school, I think I am looking at another $500, but I am not sure since enrollments are not finished yet.
If education is a topic that is close to your heart and you would like to learn more about the project, or make a donation, any amount is welcome, you can contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org, that is also my Paypal address. I will cover the fees and the conversion rate so the full donation goes to the project.
This post was featured on the Blog Carnival, Shop My Closet Project, Carnival of Personal Finance, Control Your Cash, Eyes on the Dollar, thank you!
DC @ Young Adult Money says
Gosh you are doing so much for that village. Developing land (and in turn creating jobs and opportunity), the soccer field, the scholarships…I know I’m forgetting something but the point is that you should be really proud of yourself! I’m impressed by how much you’ve already accomplished there in such a short time.
Thank you! I am happy to be able to help those kids.
Matt Becker says
This is so awesome Pauline! You’re really giving these kids some opportunities they never could have had otherwise. So cool!
Daisy @ Prairie Eco Thrifter says
This is amazing. Girls going to school is a cause that is near and dear to my heart. We donate every year to organizations that help girls in countries where it’s not the norm do just that. When a girl goes to school, it does SO much good for their education as a whole.
I would love to help. I’ll email you in a bit!
Thank you Daisy! It is still a macho country here, unfortunately, so in last year’s promotion there were only 4 girls. I hope the scholarships help even that out.
John S @ Frugal Rules says
That is awesome Pauline! Like DC said, you’re doing a lot to help out your area and in a very tangible way. It’s very cool to see the opportunity you’re going to be giving these kids that they very likely wouldn’t have had otherwise.
That is a noble pledge Pauline! Keep up the good work!
Mrs PoP @ Planting Our Pennies says
That’s awesome, Pauline! One of our main donations this season was to my old public high school that desperately needs some new lab equipment since the stuff they are using is as old as I am!!
That is very generous of you. It’s funny because I would never give to my public school in France and consider that is the government’s job but I don’t know how public schools are funded in the US. Here when they say they won’t give the kids a teacher, they just shut the class and that’s it. Maybe the following years they have enough kids but the ones who didn’t study for a year probably got pregnant or started a job and won’t get back to school.
Done by Forty says
Pauline, it got a little dusty in my office when reading this. God bless you for doing this.
Thank you for your kind words, I hope the kids like it.
Shannon @ The Heavy Purse says
This is a beautiful thing you are doing for these kids. So generous and it makes me so happy imagining how these kids lives will be so better thanks to you. I’m so glad you were able to send the girl to trade school – a whole new world of opportunities for her.
Anne @ Unique Gifter says
This is so absolutely fantastic Pauline. It is so disappointing to read things like over half of the class won’t make it to middle school! Especially when the cost of doing so is about the same as me going out for a nice dinner, or having one night at the bar. Thank you so much for doing everything that you are doing, and for keeping us all informed about the state of education in places that we don’t necessarily think about.
Great work… here’s hoping your online income more than funds what you need in the future!
I hope so 🙂 I already committed so it will have to hehe. High school is expensive but finding $30 for a pair of shoes and a uniform is not that big of a deal and it can change a kid’s life.
Brian @ Luke1428 says
Your generosity is amazing Pauline! It will be fascinating to track the lives of these students through the years to see what becomes of them. There are so many needy people and worthy causes that we can support. All many people need is for someone to give them an opportunity – which you have certainly done.
So far they look promising, I hope they keep it up, we were talking with the school principal about a great student who stopped coming to school because she got pregnant at 14 and that is the fate of too many girls in the village so I hope they take their chance at studying instead.
Pauline I think this is amazing. I totally commend you for this. What a great cause and great of a reader to donate as well! Stories like this restore my faith in humanity.
That was super generous of him, I received the donation a couple of months after he went back home so it was a perfect and timely surprise.
Adam Kamerer says
This is so inspiring, Pauline. I can’t wait until my wife and I are in a position where we can start doing good for others the way you are.
Hey Adam you know you don’t need money to give back, you can help people out donating your time, say help an old neighbor shop and carry groceries, tutor a kid with learning difficulties and no money to pay a tutor, etc. Or donate the old stuff you don’t use anymore, it may be someone’s treasure.
Pauline, you are awesome. What an amazing gift you are giving to those who otherwise might not get the help.
Thank you Jacob! It is great to be able to do it.
I love what you’re doing for the girls in your village, it’s so kind! I do hope it spreads motivation and hope around to the other kids. It’s so sad that many of them don’t get a chance to pursue studies, and it’s wonderful that you’re providing them with that opportunity.
my neighbor is trying to have sponsors for next year as soon as the year start so the kids have a year long motivation, but you can’t tell them there will be scholarships if there won’t. Hopefully there will!
Sue @ When Did It Get So Complicated says
This is great! I also donate 10% of my commissions from direct sales to a charity that helps treat sick children. I think it is a very wise business decision that will probably bring you more income and hence more donations… win-win!
That is very kind of you Sue, let’s hope the same happens over here!
Joe @ Budget Breakaway says
What a generous and inspiring gesture! This is something that they will always be grateful for!
I hope they thrive over there. An next year’s income covers even more scholaships 🙂
I read this and it makes me really mad at all the kids who take school for granted here. Education is the key out of poverty. I’m so glad you were able to help the girl who wants to be a teacher. I hope both students do well and take advantage of this change you’ve given them.
Pauline-this story made me a little teary eyed. What a wonderful, wonderful opportunity you have made available to these kids. And, you’ve shown them that there are kind people in the world. They will never forget this moment!
Laurie @thefrugalfarmer says
Pauline, this is just so wonderful. I know you are not doing it for the kudos, but you are making such a difference – thank you for that. You are an inspiration, Pauline!
Well done, Pauline! Education is one of the very few tools we have to level the playing field. The more, the merrier, and it is the time to be merry, isn’t it? Have a cup of cheer!
Great to read about this at this festive, giving time of year. Though of course support networks and funding is an all-year-round project.
It means so much to our youngster who’s families don’t have the means to provide a full education. Giving them a chance early on in life, a ‘leg up’, so to speak, will no doubt reap rewards right through their lives (fingers crossed).
I admire anyone who spends their working days trying to build a future for others, as well as animals and nature in general. From the countless number of volunteers and community support groups in 3rd world countries to those who do similar work for their own local people and environment, like yourself, we all are very touched and inspired.
I’d like to do something similar in the future after I build my own financial independence and have my own blog site. As much as children are our future my passion is animals and specifically dogs. My dream world be to build some sort of shelter for stray and injured animals.
Keep up the extremely good work
Jack @ Enwealthen says
Good for you!
Our goal is to donate 10% of our after tax income to charities et al. each year. We aren’t there yet, but get closer every time we adjust our budget.
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