Plan International Ecuador is committed to strengthening the capacities of children, adolescents and members of the community, civil society organisations and local governments to demand greater access, quality and governance in education. We offer scholarships to children to help them progress in their studies and to keep them at school, and we enable mothers and fathers to access training, so that they understand the importance of promoting and demanding the right to education for their sons and daughters.
Our project ‘One Scholarship, One Future’ has helped hundreds of children fulfil their dreams of an education. Rosaura, one of the girls who received a scholarship, tells us what being able to stay at school has meant to her.
A scholarship that changed my life
“My name is Rosaura and I’m twelve years old. I’ve lived all my life in the province of Cotopaxi. For those who don’t know, Cotopaxi is one of Ecuador’s highest and most beautiful volcanoes.
The community where I live is at a high altitude. They say that’s why the crops don’t grow as much as in other areas, but we use what we harvest, even if we can only eat once a day. We eat mainly corn, potatoes and broad beans. In my house my mum doesn’t cook meat very often as the hens and pigs we have are for selling. One day I was ill and they took me to the doctor. When my mum told him I was 12, he couldn’t believe it because he said I looked like a girl of nine. He recommended giving me other kinds of food, but either we eat the hens’ eggs and have nothing left, or we sell them and at least we have some money for other needs.
"There are a lot of other boys and girls from my community and other nearby ones that got scholarships too"
Luckily, things started to change after that. Maricela from Plan International came and told the leader of my community that she had several scholarships for the poorest children to be able to stay at school.
My mum and I went to the meeting they organised to decide who would get the scholarships. Everyone knew that my mum and I live on our own and that I was going to drop out of school to do the same thing as lots of other children in my community who are now working in domestic service in the city. So I was the first child to get a scholarship in my community!
We were able to buy my school materials with the $120 scholarship. That was fantastic for me because the year before that my notebooks got wet one day when we walking to school in heavy rain and we didn’t have enough money at home to buy new ones. And every day in the winter it was harder and harder for me to go to school because it’s freezing when you step out into the street and I didn’t have enough warm clothes.
There are a lot of other boys and girls from my community and other nearby ones that got scholarships too. My teacher, Elvia, is always saying how grateful she is to Plan that her classrooms have not ended up empty. As well as giving us the scholarships, Plan recently helped build some toilets so that the pupils can have the best sanitary conditions possible. Otherwise our little school would have been closed down because it didn’t meet the requirements for having any more pupils.
As well as explaining to us why it is important to keep studying, our teacher tells us other stories of girls and boys in Ecuador who have also been given scholarships. In total there are 2,792 girls and boys who have been helped by the project ‘One scholarship, one future’ in 2013 and hopefully this number can grow and grow so that we all have the same opportunities.
Thanks to our scholarships, we’ll have the opportunity to keep studying to become professionals in the future and have more opportunities than our parents had. Thanks to Plan I hope to go far and to become a teacher!