“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” Nelson Mandela
Building human capacity in disadvantaged rural communities where SHARE works often starts with improving basic literacy levels.
Literacy unlocks potential to alleviate poverty; it opens up opportunities for local employment, builds confidence, fosters hope and equality and equips people to help themselves.
S.H.A.R.E. Agriculture Foundation funds a high school scholarship program in Belize, Central America. High school tuition fees for rural youth are paid with the scholarship funds. Parents in Belize value education but because family income may be low there is not enough money to pay required high school fees. Families sacrifice to pay the other school expenses. When a student receives a SHARE scholarship there is a positive impact on the whole family.
SHARE’s high school scholarship gives opportunity to youth in this small developing country.
Testimonials of gratitude from SHARE scholarship students:
From Daisy: "I write to you this letter with love, happiness, gladness and many things that you cannot imagine. I am the happiest girl that exists in this wonderful and beautiful world. I am so glad and happy that I am going to high school so I can become special in the future. Also I want to help my family and other people. Thank you once more. May God bless you all."
From Antonio: “The financial help from SHARE has transformed my life, and allowed me to complete elementary and high school and make plans for college. I want to continue to learn and help my community, especially the small farmers and young people. I am sure that my future is promising. I will never forget the support I received from SHARE. Health and happiness to all. I feel a little bit Canadian in my heart.”
Thousands of people in many rural communities in El Salvador live in poverty, lacking opportunities, resources and basic services. Thousands of adults displaced in the country’s civil strife did not receive education as children and even now some children from poor families work rather than attend school. Many rural families are too poor to pay for basic school supplies and fees. Schools are sometimes located over an hour’s walk away from remote communities where SHARE funds agriculture projects. Thousands of rural Salvadorans lack literacy or have low literacy levels.
SHARE partnered with CIDA (Canadian International Development Agency) to fund teen and adult literacy circles in El Salvador for hundreds of impoverished rural teens, men and women. This literacy program is coordinated by a southern partner and certificates are accredited by the Salvadoran Ministry of Education.
The adult literacy curriculum includes life and employment entry skills. Results show recipients benefit greatly through improved self worth and employment. The benefits of the SHARE literacy project for teens and adults to manage their small agriculture enterprises are immeasurable.
Marie, who grows a productive market garden in El Salvador, learned to read and write in a SHARE literacy circle. “Now,” Maria said, “I do not have the shame of having to put an X on documents in offices. I can read signs and directions when I go to town.” Marie is better able to conduct her small farm business now that she is literate.
In Latin America, as in many developing countries, the high population of rural youth lack opportunities for education and training due to family poverty and inequalities in the societies. Through the years SHARE has been able to assist at several training schools for youth and recently, in response to a request from a southern partner, SHARE supported a vocational training project for rural youth in El Salvador. This successful computer training project resulted from a partnership of two American organizations who supplied computers, the Canadian International Development Agency (now called DFATD) and SHARE. The results have been very encouraging with many rural young people achieving jobs and skills for further education.
In a SHARE project in El Salvador and Honduras, supported by DFATD, hundreds of youth are receiving vocational training for skills that will improve family income in rural areas, supplementing farm income. Training in baking, carpentry, masonry, metal work, and jewelry making are being taught.
SHARE wishes to thank DFATD, the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development for their financial support of SHARE’s projects in adult literacy and youth training.