I am a doctorate student teaching English and researching changing ideals concerning what constitutes living well (senuk buae) in the indigenous Bribri territories. I have been in the indigenous community of Yorkín, Costa Rica since July of 2015. Working in conjunction with community members, we have identified “education” as the number one priority to living well. This illustrates the value the locals place on continuing education to benefit both the individual and the community. However, we have also identified that for those students who have been accepted to attend university, having the funds to cover extraneous expenses (travel, clothing, food, and school supplies) is seriously lacking.
Yorkín is a community in which subsistence horticulture is the most dominant method of making a living. The community has also recently initiated ecotourism projects and, in addition to the elementary school, has built a high school to serve the area. Yorkín has a growing population of around 250 people, with thirty students attending the high school. This year we graduated three students who all passed the exam to qualify for a scholarship from the government to attend one of the public universities. The only thing keeping these students from attending university is the lack of funds for additional expenses. Therefore, we are asking for your support.
Yorkín is a two-hour walk out of the rain forest to the nearest bus. It takes all day and the equivalent of about ten dollars U.S. just to get to the bus stop in San Jose, not to mention the cost of food and beverages. Students also need assistance with purchasing books and school supplies, as well as clothing and toiletries. These students have already faced difficulties in obtaining their high school diplomas which the average student does not have to contend with. Many of them begin the day chopping firewood for cooking or working in the family horticultural plot. Two of our graduates walk over an hour on muddy trails to attend the high school. Now they are faced with the difficult task of leaving the community and living in a city, and in a manner, which they are not accustomed to. The Senuk Buae Indigenous College Fund is intended to help this transition by easing some of the financial burden to themselves and their families.
Students will be required to apply for funding and describe how they will use their education to benefit the community. We are attempting to earn $3,000 dollars to fund three students for one academic year. Funds may only be used for approved purchases pertaining to their academic pursuits. Our deadline is August of 2017 to have the funds available. However, the sooner we reach our goal, the sooner the students and their families may begin preparations for this life-changing opportunity. If we are successful, we would like to continue this fund to aid in supporting more graduates in the future who qualify for the government scholarship to attend one of the public universities. Together, we can help these hard-working young adults in continuing their education and helping their community grow into the 21st century. Senuk buae!
Any help that you could give would be greatly appreciated.
PhD Candidate, University of Alabama