It’s just about the end of summer vacation here in Peru and almost every store is full of school supplies and big sales on notebooks, markers, crayons, and the such. As the majority of our Girasoles boys are preparing to return to elementary or high scholol in a week or so*, we wanted to tell you about an opportunity that four of our boys were given.
In 2012, the Peruvian government started a higher education scholarship program called Beca 18. There are quite a few different scholarship categories available for applicants like high grades, students living in the VRAEM (an area of Peru that still has low terrorist activity), members of the Peruvian military and students that live in albergues (childrens homes like our Casas Girasoles).
The Beca 18 scholarship is a great opportunity for any of its recipients and offers programs of study in both the university and institute (technical school) levels. The scholarship covers tuition, provides the student with a monthly stipend for housing, food and transportation, English classes, a new laptop, uniform for classes (like a suit if needed), private insurance and a few other things. It is a great opportunity for students who would not necessarily have access to higher education studies.
At the end of January, Billy and I were contacted by a few employees from Pronabec, the government body that manages the Beca 18 scholarships, to see if we had any boys in our homes that were eligible for the children’s home category. To apply for a university program, students need a minimum average of 15 out of 20 during their 5 years of high school study and for institute programs a minimum average of 13. Pronabec has a maximum 200 spots to fill within the children’s home category and when they contacted us on January 23rd, there were only 7 applicants and the deadline to apply was just two weeks later on February 7th.