A university fund for rural Ecuadorian students
Help an Indigenous Ecuadorian village with education and sustainability by supporting their first-ever high school graduates to study at college and university.
About the Project
The objective of our crowdfund is to support nine high school graduates – the first-ever graduates from their remote village – to enroll in and attend university programs in Ecuador in 2023!
The students are from Piñán, a remote community of Indigenous Kichwa ancestry located high in the mountains of Ecuador. Their village is extremely isolated. There is no access to nearby work or the most basic government services, and until recently, and until recently there was access only to primary education.
In 2017 while hiking in the northern Andes of Ecuador, I visited the remote Indigenous village of Piñán. I learned that with no rights to the land they have lived on for 500 years and with no access to education, the people of Piñán were struggling to lift themselves from poverty. Community leaders asked me if I could help with one specific challenge: making education a possibility for their children so that they would face a better future. This made a profound impression on me, and I promised to do my best to help them. One year later, I founded the Community Ascent Network to help Piñán reach their dream of education for their children.
With the help of donors, Community Ascent established a high school program in the community in 2018 and in 2021, we built Piñán's first-ever high school. That same year 18 students graduated high school – the first ever in this community!
Our challenge now is to help this first generation of students achieve a post-secondary education so they can have careers and contribute to a sustainable future for their community. With your support Community Ascent will help nine students attend college and university in the coming year.
Education is the cornerstone to a sustainable future - when a community's youth is empowered through education, their skills and resources will be returned to the community to support future generations. However, without the opportunity to study, Piñán's youth will have to leave the community to find work.
The objective of our ongoing education project in Piñán is to provide youth with comprehensive educational opportunities to help them achieve economic and cultural sustainability.
Reaching our crowdfunding goal of $10,000 will be essential to support the students' goal to complete a university education so they can have careers and support future generations of their community.
All funds raised will go to:
1. Helping the students to research, identify and enrol in a university of their choice
2. Rent accommodations for the students near the universities during their two-semester year
3. Provide food, transportation and a school supply budget to each student
4. Provide a local project coordinator to assist the students with university/college applications and their transition to campus
Every Donation of $20 or more will receive a virtual Christmas card from The Community Ascent Network, which explains our cause so that you can give the gift of Indigenous Educational
Development to your friends, family or loved ones for Christmas.
Donors contributing $200 or more will be given a special mention on our website and social media pages for the rest of the year. This can apply to a donation made from any business, as well.
Our work with Piñán
When Community Ascent began working with Piñán in 2018, there was only an elementary school in the village. Over the last four years, with full community participation, our organization has helped to construct a building with two high school classrooms, install a computer lab and connect the school with an internet service. We have worked with the local school district to bring more teachers to the community and register a high school program in the community. There is now a complete education program – elementary through to high school – offered in Piñán. It is attended by all boys and girls in the community, and the first class of 18 students graduated in 2022.
Piñán’s story is a troubling one. They are a 500-year-old indigenous community, one of the last communities in Ecuador still without land rights. In the past, the villagers were indentured workers. Without land rights, the villagers cannot develop agriculture or graze animals on the land around their village. As such, livelihoods are scarce and poverty is starkly present. As a result, community members must leave for months at a time, or sometimes permanently, to find jobs. This is situation that the approximately 200 youth living in Piñán are currently facing.
Your support will make an enormous difference to the future of Piñán and create hope for their children. Education will lead to a sustainable future with job options and the creation of local businesses such as community tourism. This is the first group of students to graduate and take this step to become the new leaders of their community!
Here is our full breakdown of how we will support the university students and their families:
1. Hire a local project coordinator who will oversee the following actions:
◦ help the students to research, identify and enrol in a university of their choice
◦ maintain communication with the students every week during the school semester
◦ liaison between students and school staff to ensure that they have access to academic and other support systems while studying and living outside of their community
Allocated Cost: $1200 USD / $1,647 CAD
1. Rent group accommodations for the students to live together while studying outside of their community
Allocated Cost: $2500 USD / $3,431 CAD
2. Provide an appropriate food and city transit allowance to each student participant
Allocated Cost: $9,000 USD / $12,353 CAD
3. Purchase books and school supplies required by their university
Allocated Cost: $1000 USD / $1,372 CAD
4. Provide transportation to and from the community at the beginning and end of their school semesters
Allocated Cost: $320 USD / $439 CAD
Total cost for nine students to study one year of university in
Ecuador: $14,020 USD / $19,242 CAD
Available funds to Community Ascent: $9,651.62 CAD
Remaining funds to raise for the program: $10,000 CAD
From everyone in Piñán and Community Ascent Network, thank you for supporting our cause! Any contribution, big or small, will help to make a lasting impact in their community!
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Donations are typically tax deductible in Canada.