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.