PO Box 3241
Evergreen, CO 80437-3241
Phone: 303 674-2104
E-mail: [email protected]
May 29, 2008 Website: www.karenpierce.com
Dear Indian Church Village Scholarship Program Donors and Supporters of Education for Belize Children:
In Belize the cost for children from remote rural villages to attend high school is high—about $2,000US per year. During the past six years donations to the Indian Church Village Scholarship Program in Belize have provided assistance to twenty-one children from Indian Church Village to attend high school. Eight students have already graduated and three more students graduate on June 7th. In 2007/08 the program was expanded to help two students attend junior college. We believe that it is important for the children and their families to contribute to the student’s educational expenses—investing in their own education makes it more valuable to both the students and parents, but they still need your help.
Recently a former scholarship donor organization wrote to me and said, “There is a difference between social service and systemic change. Advocacy for systemic change offers the opportunity to benefit far more people than social service programs. Clearly what the children of Indian Church Village need, along with all the children of Belize, is for their nation to extend free public education through high school.”
I agree, and given the opportunity I will petition for this, but for the children of Indian Church Village, a remote rural village of about 250 people, the matter of education extends beyond tuition fees alone, whether they are privately paid or government funded. The bigger social issue is the perceived value of education. The bigger financial issue is that the children must live away from home in order to attend school, and pay for books, uniforms and supplies too. Their parents have little if any formal education and have very little opportunity for earning an income above the subsistence level.
It might seem that donations are helping an individual student; however, I think it is best to look upon the scholarship program in its entirety and see how that has made an impact. What the program has really done is help to create a smaller systemic change that I believe will ultimately lead to a greater systemic change within the country. What the Indian Church Village scholarship program has done is create a desire among the village children to attend high school. Parents are starting to understand the importance of education and are more supportive of their children attending school instead of going to work in the fields. Attending high school has now become the norm for the village children, whereas before the scholarship program hardly any kids from that village ever went to high school. The six ICV high school scholarship students who graduated last year all went on to junior college and this year’s graduates intend to also! Other graduates of the scholarship program are now assisting their siblings with high school costs. They all recognize the value of education. This will lead to a more educated society which understands the importance of education and will demand that the Belize government place a greater value upon it. I believe these children are the seeds of the systemic change. They are the future leaders of the country.
I personally know all these children and their families and I see the change in the attitude toward education which the scholarship program has brought about. Although it is just one small village and a small number of students in Belize, scholarship programs like this are incredibly important for the future. Please help these children obtain an education by sending your donation for the Indian Church Village scholarship program to me at the address above—the money all goes to the scholarship program. For more details about the students and schools, see the Scholarship Program document link on my website. Never underestimate the power of giving someone an education and hope for their future!
Thank you from all of the Indian Church Village students and their families.
OUR GOALS FOR INDIAN CHURCH VILLAGE SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM FOR THE 2008/09 SCHOOL YEAR:
*estimated USD amount required for each goal
· Provide financial assistance for 8 to 10 students from Indian Church Village to attend high school *$3000-$5500
· Extend our program to provide scholarships for 3 students from the neighboring village of San Carlos *$1000-$2000
· Purchase new editions of high school textbooks for the ICV Scholarship Textbook Reuse Program *$1500-$2000
· Fund Junior College loans for 5 to 7 ICV students who need help (a program that was started last year) *$7500-$10500
· Provide each student with a used laptop computer (seeking laptop donations!) and ship to Belize *$500-$800
· Find a solution to keeping the Indian Church Village computer and internet center operational, thus allowing the students access on weekends for completion of homework assignments, and access for others in the village who wish to take continuing education classes via the internet. (Will assess the problem in June when in ICV—money, maintenance, politics?)
· If this (above) can not be accomplished in the current location (Artisans’ Center) then we’ll consider a campaign to raise funds to get a photovoltaic (solar) power system and internet center established in the village library. *10,000-$12,000
DONATE YOUR OLD LAPTOP COMPUTER: The ICV high school students live in a number of different villages during the school week. It is not always possible, easy, or safe for the students to get to a computer/internet center in the evenings. To get to a computer place they have to take public transportation, which is not available in all places at night and they must pay for computer use by the hour. The Orange Walk computer places are very busy now, as most people in Belize do not have computers in their homes. A laptop computer will allow students more flexibility with the times they can do their homework, less time wasted with bus travel, and it can be used on battery power when there is no electricity.