By Natalie Taylor
On September 28 and 29, the volunteers who manage the non-profit organization Mujeres en Cambio distributed scholarship funds to girls and young women lucky, determined, and talented enough to be in their program. This is part of a series of distributions throughout the year in which scholarship recipients receive financial assistance that helps them continue with their education. The girls come from poor rural villages around San Miguel de Allende and they all have in common a singular quality—the desire to empower themselves though education. Without some assistance, most would likely end up working at menial jobs, married early, and starting a family in their teens.
The girls all come from villages around seven San Miguel municipality towns with community schools: San Marcos, Corral de Piedras, Cerritos, Clavelinas, Alcocer, Agustin Gonzalez, and Atotonilco. These girls want to learn, to have a profession, to improve their lives and that of their families.
On Tuesday, the twenty-eighth, 21 newly selected scholarship recipients from second year secundaria (eighth grade equivalent) were there for the first time. A small ceremony was held in which the president, Don Caldwell; Pakina Fernandez, one of the organization’s founders; and Barbara Salazar, scholarship chair, welcomed the girls. Caldwell acknowledged the volunteers and praised their hard work in raising the necessary funds to keep the scholarship program running smoothly. Salazar’s message was a reinforcement of the relationship Mujeres en Cambio has with each recipient: “We make a commitment to you and hope you make a commitment to us to continue your good scholarship.”
Over more than 25 years, Mujeres en Cambio has seen how this bond we try to develop from the beginning leads these young people to better employment and a brighter future. For many it even means a college education and a professional degree. On Tuesday each of the new girls was given a small gift and a certificate recognizing the beginning of their engagement with the Mujeres en Cambio scholarship assistance program. Nancy Rowe, Secretary, is shown presenting a gift to one of the girls.
As has been the case in these pandemic years, all important health protocols were followed during this distribution. Despite the face masks, the sparkle in the eye is a clear indication that behind the mask is a big, beautiful smile. Welcome on board, girls, and keep up the good work! Remember our motto: There is no greater force than a woman determined to rise.
Should you wish to make a contribution or join Mujeres en Cambio as a volunteer, please visit our website: www.mujeresencambio.org