Project Amigo Invests In Education
Project Amigo is a Rotary education sponsorship project based in Colima, Mexico that supports children from a very young age through college degrees. Fellow Rotarian, Heather Edwards, explains the value of this program and invites Tatiana, a graduate of Project Amigo, to share her experience.
Taking Root In Colima, Mexico
Project Amigo is based in Colima, the 5th smallest and most rural state in Mexico. Colima is agriculturally based, and many families cut sugarcane for their primary stream of income. As a result, it is difficult for families to afford the costs of sending their children to school. Because of this, children between ages eight and three drop out of school to care for their younger siblings or earn money.
Honing In On Education Sponsorship
The core focus of Project Amigo is education. As Heather states, education is how you empower people and enable them to earn their own way in the world. Thus, Project Amigo supports children from a young age to when they graduate high school and even through University.
A Comprehensive Scholarship Program
Today, Project Amigo is a certified 501(c)(3) organization and formal scholarship program. Project Amigo serves multiple areas in Colima, including Cofradía, Suchitlán, Quesería, Cerro de Ortega, and Nogalera.
Project Amigo pushes its students to excel. For example, students are asked to keep up with weekly homework assignments, complete 10 hours of community service, maintain an 8.5GPA, and mentor younger students.
As a result of Project Amigo’s support, more than 1,000 students have graduated high school, 77 students have graduated from University, and two students have earned Master’s degrees.
Attend An Immersive Service Week
Project Amigo hosts incredibly fun service weeks. The types of service weeks vary. Some weeks are focused on learning Spanish and English. During these weeks, volunteers are paired with a university or high school student, and they work together to improve their Spanish and English.
Regardless of the service week, students and volunteers have a great time. Participants ride the Amigo Bus to go on field trips, hand out Christmas gifts, and spend time in the Hacienda to work on homework assignments or take dance classes.
Adapting During COVID
To help families struggling during COVID, Project Amigo has distributed food boxes. These boxes are filled with non-perishable necessities like oil for cooking, matches, soap, detergent, and eggs. As a result of these boxes, families don’t need to use public transportation to seek affordable foods in larger cities.
Currently, all learning in Mexico is online, and many of the Project Amigo staff have become de-facto online teachers. Students have continued learning and completing their assignments. However, it is still critical to ensure students have access to computers, a steady internet connection, and receive help navigating assignments.
Meet Tatiana, Architect and Project Amigo Graduate
Tatiana is a Project Amigo graduate, who is now an architect. Project Amigo was her second home, and her sponsor, Lucas, was like family. Lucas was an excellent resource for her. He helped her navigate schooling and grow her career. She says he was someone she could talk with about her dreams in ways that weren’t easy to with her parents, or brothers and sisters.
Now that she is an architect, she takes pride and joy in the services she can provide to her clients. She also returns to Project Amigo and encourages current students to contact her if they have questions or need help.
Helping Others Earn Their Way
Many Rotarians express the pleasure of working with Project Amigo. It’s easy to support students from home or (when possible) to attend a service week. To learn more about Project Amigo, visit our project page for Project Amigo. You can also visit Project Amigo’s website at https://www.projectamigo.org/.