We are in week three of our Viva Fund Campaign, raising funds for our Youth Program in El Salvador. This article continues the Viva Fund series, outlining the expansion and successes of our program. Learn about the Youth Program and give generously to support scholarships for young community leaders in El Salvador.
Scholarships from the Viva Fund allow young leaders to continue their education, training the next generation of leaders. Continuing their education creates opportunities for them to work and give back in their home communities, creating lasting change from within. These youth graduate from their programs ready to invest their knowledge back into their communities, building upon the work of La Coordinadora and the Mangrove Association. Meet two of the scholarship recipients, Rosa and Wilson!
Rosita Domínguez – Student at the University of El Salvador majoring in Agriculture.
Rosita is 24 years old and lives in El Carmen, a small community of 26 families. She began school at the age of 6, when El Carmen had no school building and held classes outside with rocks as desks. Starting in 7th grade, Rosita had to walk 8km (about an hour and a half) to attend school in San Marcos Lempa. Her parents were unable to pay for her high school, so after a year out of school, Rosita obtained work embroidering shirts and attending school on Saturdays. Rosita currently works for the Mangrove Association’s Agriculture Program and studies in the weekends.
“When I graduated from high school my dream was to study at the University, yet I understood that this was beyond my control because neither I nor my parents could afford it, and one day what I least expected happened: the Mangrove Association began a scholarship program and I was one of the youth leaders selected.
I started my university studies in 2010 in the University of El Salvador, studying engineering and agronomy. I delighted and grateful to the Mangrove Association and EcoViva for the wonderful opportunity that I have to prepare myself professionally.
The community that I live in is small with only twenty-six families and up until recently, I was the only person studying at the university level. This year another a neighbor of mine began studying at Megatec. Together, we will work on bettering local conditions because we are committed to having our knowledge transmitted to our communities.”
Wilson Antonio Mejía – Student at Megatec majoring in Fisheries.
Wilson is a 19 year old from Ciudad Romero. He became involved with the Youth Program when he was just 12 years old. He has been part of the theater group and the leadership school, and most recently completed his service hours at the Mangrove Association, interviewing former blast fishermen and women.
“I became part of the Mangrove Association because I like helping communities with what little I can offer. In 2006, I began to learn about the needs of the community and understood that we must work for our communities. I understood that once our communities develop and grow, our country could become developed.
After all this process and volunteer work, some of us had already graduated high school. We wanted to continue studying but could not afford to. Seeing the desire some of us had to educate ourselves, the Mangrove Association and EcoViva decided to support us with scholarships that cover all our costs to attend school. If it was not for them, we would not be studying.
In all the work we have done we have had many achievements that have been reflected in the communities, and we will continue to transform the future and welfare of the country and communities going forward.”
Learn more about the Viva Fund Scholarships program and the effect is has on youth in the Lower Lempa by taking a minute to watch this video and then donate to support the education of youth leaders like Wilson and Rosa!