By Honey Fisher
Despite universal recognition of the right to education for everyone, girls are still less likely than boys to attend school, according to a United Nations report on girls’ education.1
In San Miguel de Allende, Mujeres en Cambio (MeC) has been working hard to reduce that disparity by offering equity of educational opportunity to young girls. Now, in its 27th year, MeC has assisted almost 1,000 girls from 45 surrounding rural villages, empowering them to radically transform their career goals and lives.
Only primaria (elementary school) is free here in Mexico. The stark reality is that many families can’t afford to send all their children to school at a higher level. That translates into difficult choices for families with few resources. Most often, the cultural bias is toward sending only their boys to school, with the expectation of better job prospects and incomes with which to support their families. Girls, on the other hand, are more often encouraged to quit school, find work, marry, and become housewives and mothers, dependent upon their husband’s income.
MeC, a volunteer-run charitable organization, has a unique mission: provide funding to girls from economically stressed families in San Miguel so that they can continue their education past primaria. Before the new school year begins, MeC meets with administrators and teachers from San Miguel’s surrounding rural communities, who recommend candidates interested in furthering their education but cannot due to economic hardship. In 2021, MeC sponsored 177 girls, providing nearly US$80,000 in scholarships. In the same year, 14 scholarship students graduated from university, and 10 obtained their titulos (professional certifications).
During the school year, there are four follow-up sessions where the girls must bring their current grades to demonstrate they are maintaining a high GPA score. Cash scholarships, or becas, are distributed to the girls at these sessions. MeC offers secundaria (junior high) and preparatoria (high school) scholarships of US$300 per year and university scholarships of US$1,200 per year. The commitment to the girls is from 8th grade through university graduation. To date, virtually 100% of the girls continue to the end of the program.
MeC organizes a number of fundraising activities in San Miguel during the year to build continuing support for its educational scholarship program in Mexico. Their first in-person event since COVID-19 is taking place September 21. The fundraiser luncheon will be celebrating the work of MeC and the success of the scholarship recipients.
Although tickets for the luncheon are now sold out, you can still support this important program by making a fully tax-deductible donation to MeC’s scholarship fund. A financial donation in any amount will help MeC reach its annual goal of US$90,000 for the scholarship fund. You can also help out by volunteering. Check out MeC’s website at https://mujeresencambio.org/ to learn more about the many ways you can contribute.
Remember, education is a girl’s right.
1. Human Rights Council, Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Human Rights Council. Realization of the equal enjoyment of the right to education by every girl. United Nations: 2016.
Mujeres en Cambio Luncheon Fundraiser
Wed, Sep 21, 1pm
La Mansion de Montitlan
Calle Montitlan 18, Colonia Los Balcones
*NGO paid article