The Matagalpa Scholarship Program supports students in impoverished, rural areas of the Matagalpa region of Nicaragua, near the towns of La Dalia and El Tuma. These students range in age from 10 to 25 years old, and study at levels from fourth grade through university. The students in the program share a passionate desire to stay in school and a high level of motivation to continue learning despite a range of challenges. Many of the older students work during the week to help support their families and travel significant distances to attend school on the weekends.
Our Matagalpa scholarship program helps pay for some of the out-of-pocket costs associated with school that families would otherwise have trouble affording, such as school supplies and uniforms. It subsidizes tuition for college students and helps with transportation and food for students who have to travel to get to their classrooms.
This program is run by an established Nicaraguan NGO with extensive experience in underserved, rural regions of Nicaragua, called Acción Médica Cristiana (AMC). AMC is an ecumenical, non-proselytizing organization with over 30 years of experience and an excellent track record. AMC administers the scholarship program in connection with its other health and poverty-reduction charitable activities in the Matagalpa region. The students benefit from other AMC services (such as education regarding nutrition and sanitation) and participate in youth leadership activities with AMC (such as promoting infant and young child health and doing radio programs to educate their communities about protecting the environment). We think this provides an excellent background for the scholarships, and makes our funding particularly productive.
According to UNICEF, “Educating children helps reduce poverty. Education will give the next generation the tools to fight poverty and conquer disease. School also offers children a safe environment, with support, supervision and socialization. Here they learn life skills that can help them prevent diseases, including how to avoid HIV/AIDS and malaria.” Education also opens minds and doors for children and youth, and for their communities, in a variety of ways. It develops leaders and creates a sense of possibility. Through their continued studies, students learn about the world, develop critical thinking skills, and are able to access information and resources. They learn how to solve problems, improve their lives, and become leaders in their families and communities. They learn to believe in their dreams.