Send a boy to college, and you’ve educated a man; send a girl to college, and you’ve educated a family.
By Natalie Taylor
Mujeres en Cambio (MeC) has one mission—optimizing educational opportunities for underprivileged girls and young women in rural communities around San Miguel de Allende. All the funding the organization collects goes toward that goal; whether through private or institutional grants, or fundraising events, the money is directed toward scholarships (becas) for girls. The financial support can start as early as Junior High, then continue through High School paving the way for a young woman to enter college, leading to a degree in any number of disciplines. Most of the young women who complete this process come from families that never studied beyond elementary or Junior High. They are the first to become college educated and their lives, and their families’ lives are changed forever.
On May 4 and 5, at Instituto Allende, MeC volunteers came to make the fourth of five-yearly distribution of funds to the recipients of becas. Forty nine girls were present to receive their funds; either to continue their college education or to pay for the Titulo (official degree papers). They come from many rural communities such as Alcocer, Corral de Piedra, Augustin Gomez, and even Atotonilco. What they all share is a desire for an education that became evident early in life and led them to study hard and achieve good grades. Then it took a teacher or principal who seeing the potential in them, communicated with MeC and a selection process determined that this particular young woman deserved scholastic support. In the more than 26 years that the organization has existed, no young woman has been a disappointment. Their careers go from nursing, to mechanical engineering, to criminal investigative work. They break boundaries, they become examples of the benefits that result with educating women; they turn into beacons of hope for other young woman in their families, in the community, in the world.
It is truly amazing to see how motivated these young women are and the obstacles they overcome—not only economic but emotional. The culture of women not needing education is still strongly imbued in many families and communities. Some girls have told us that relatives keep questioning the “waste of money” on a girl’s education. “What’s the point,” many tell them, “women are not meant for school. Their job is to have children and serve a husband.” On the other hand, it is also gratifying to hear of fathers who never completed more than an elementary education who made a decision early on that “their daughter” would become somebody! Those fathers, and mothers, who believe in education have supported their daughters and are incredibly proud of their achievements. In so many cases, these young women who complete college are the first in their families to do so; indeed, many are first in their communities to reach that goal.
Mujeres en Cambio changes the lives of women by funding their education. If you’d like to help, please visit mujeresencambio.org and make a contribution to educate more women!