Paso Por Paso honours the second year of student achievement in the Canada Maya Scholarship program in Panajachel Guatemala. The Orillia based charity maintains six Maya university students.
Five of the eight Paso directors and three of the Orillia Scholarship Committee attended the event. Fred Fallis made the presentations.
“These young people would not be in university without help,” Fallis reports. There are two in medicine, two in social work, and one each in mathematics and business.
“I am so impressed with how dedicated these students are to their education. Not only are they travelling through some pretty incredible terrain to get to the university, but most of these students are also balancing the demands of raising children and providing for their families. It really strikes you how much they value this opportunity to study at the university level and how appreciative they are of these scholarships.” Fallis adds.
Rodolfo Perez is the first C-MS graduate. He completed tourism at the diversificado level, but hopes to advance to university next year. He lost his uncle and his own home was destroyed in tropical storm Agatha last year.
“Canada Maya Scholarships place particular emphasis on educating women,” Fallis explains. “With less than 1% of Guatemala Maya women having university degrees, our program is very important in opening opportunities.”
Two women will graduate in 2011: Oliva Lopez in marketing at Rafael Landivar Universidad in Quetzelteango and Maria Isabel Churunel is in Social Work in Universidad dela Vale in Solola.
New appeals have been received to assist students of law, nursing and medicine. Each is carefully vetted by scholarship committees in Panajachel and Orillia.
Besides the scholarship program, Paso Por Paso also maintains 15 primary and basico students, and 30 micro loans for women of Tierra Linda village. It also has made major renovations at the village primary school and assisted the opening of a basico school allowing students to continue schooling beyond grade six.