Saving education in the Galapagos Islands

The Galapagos Islands, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is one of the most popular wildlife tourism destinations on Earth. A full 97% of the archipelago is protected as the first National Park in Ecuador.  Every year, more than 200,000 tourists from all over the world visit their shared natural heritage while supporting the local population, nearly all of which relies in some way on tourism for income.

The COVID pandemic has brought the Galapagos’ economy to its knees by halting all tourism to the islands. While local and international relief efforts exist, all of them focus on the medium to long term, after tourism comes back to the islands. Meanwhile, the immediate needs of the islanders are not being met. In particular, education– key to growing young ambassadors for the protection of Darwin's Archipelago– is seriously threatened. 

The Tomás de Berlanga School, which is run by the Scalesia Foundation, is a school in the Galapagos that provides a bilingual education based on critical thinking and focused on sustainability.  More than 60% of its students receive a scholarship to attend, making a quality education available to all local children regardless of economic class. The school previously relied on grant funding as well as financing from large tour companies. Furthermore, since many parents work in tourism—as naturalists, ship staff, drivers, etc.—families that previously paid tuition are increasingly unable to afford it). Thanks to the pandemic of the last 5 months, the school’s income has dried up entirely.

The closure of this school is an immediate and unfortunate possibility. It would be tragic if the Tomás de Berlanga School had to shut its doors, bringing a sudden end to its thirty-year legacy of shaping new conservation leaders. Even though the Scalesia Foundation is working hard creating new models for funding and keep the Tomás de Berlanga working through the time, the education of its current kids can't wait!

You can help us keep education in the Galapagos afloat! Please throw a lifeline to these passionate kids and the unique species they share the islands with.

- Gifts from $1 to $500 will provide fundamental educational supplies like:

            - Laboratory equipment for science classes.
            - Books and materials for art classes.
            - Technological tools, software, and virtual platforms.

- Gifts of $500 to $5000 will fund a partial or complete scholarship for one student for one schoolyear.

How We’ll Thank Our Donors:

If you help us by sponsoring a student’s partial or full scholarship, we’ll provide regular progress reports on their work over the course of the schoolyear. And you can definitely meet the student you support when you come to the Galapagos!

If you can help us with general support for the school, you have several options. You can symbolically adopt an endemic Galapagos Cactus (you can even plant one if you come to the Galapagos!), or receive a work of art, music video, or a letter of thanks from some of our kids who you’re supporting.  

Either way, you’ll be hearing from us—we’ll be in touch!

We are doing our part as well:

A multidisciplinary team made up of parents, graduate students, and local Galapagos residents, is contributing their knowledge from different areas and their time, working day and night, all for free, helping with paperwork and administration and working side-by-side with teachers and parents.

All these efforts seek to contribute to the education of the new generations in the Galapagos. Keeping young talent in the Galapagos, instead of forcing the next generation to move away for their education, is critical to the islands’ sustainable future. Perhaps more importantly, the Galapagos needs to raise locals as future conservationists, biologists, naturalists, and professionals with sustainable practices and culture, instead of raising people who do not look after their livelihoods nor think about future generations.
Please help Tomás de Berlanga School to keep the Galapagos’ sustainable future alive! Share this initiative as much as you can...

Video thanks to Caja Negra Galapagos !


  • Anonymous
    • $55 
    • 3 yrs


Lucas Bustamante
Los Angeles, CA
Global Wildlife Conservation
Registered charity
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