In conjunction with Yonis Raudales, a small-scale farmer in the mountain village of Cantoral (near El Ocotal), we have begun a new small grant program for the children of agriculture workers who work with Mr. Raudales. The program is intended to provide funding for those children wishing to attend high school, but cannot due to financial circumstances. Mr. Raudales has worked with several Peace Corps volunteers over the last decade, including our own Aaron Banas, and has become a exemplary farmer and citizen in the area. We are proud to help Mr. Raudales in his effort to educate the children of the people who work with him at his farm.
For the 2010 school year, Mr. Raudales and the CHE Fund will be each supporting a student in their effort to attend high school, assistance which includes funding for clothes, books, matriculation, transportation and miscellaneous school-related needs. As such, we are pleased to announce our first Joseph M. Martens Education Award recipient, Melin Lizeph Soto Moncada. It is our goal that the Joseph M. Martens Education Award will be conferred yearly to deserving high school students from central Honduras, and that these education awards will go towards covering a high school student’s books, matriculation and wardrobe costs for the course of one academic years (roughly $150 per student per year). In this way, we are allowed the opportunity to diversify and expand upon whom the CHE Fund is able to support, while at the same time establishing early and timely relationships with potential CHE Fund Scholars.
It is our hope that several Joseph M. Martens Education Awards may be awarded each year. For the academic year 2010-2011, we hope to award two such awards. Our first recipient, Melin, is a 12-year old student from Guachipilin, a mountain village of 100 residents near Cantoral in the Corralitos Mountains of central Honduras. The town itself has limited infrastructure, with no electricity, insufficient access to water, and poor road access. Most students from Guachipilin finish 6th grade with very few opportunities to continue their education. With this award, Melin will have the chance to travel down the mountainside to the neighboring town of Pueblo Nuevo and attend high school. She will become one of the few individuals from her town that has ever had this opportunity.