While Andrea and I were envisioning what types of programs we'd like to start during our first year of giveDIGNITY, we kept talking about scholarships for young people from La Carpio. Kids here drop out for a variety of reasons, but number one on the list is financial. Primary school is mandatory and paid for in Costa Rica, but families must pay for school uniforms, textbooks and school supplies. For some families in poverty with multiple children, they're forced to decide which children go to school.
That's why we've decided to engineer a scholarship program for young people in La Carpio--picking motivated students with at least one parent who's interested in their child's education--to give a scholarship to cover the aforementioned costs. We envision a child-sponsorship program similar to Compassion International or World Vision, where sponsors can connect with a student and make a direct impact in their lives.
In light of these plans, I was especially excited to see this article entitled, "Fostering a future generation of leaders" and read its conclusions that child sponsorship programs are a good investment. The article references a study by Bruce Wydick, professor of economics and international studies at San Francisco University. He concludes that not only does sponsorship work, but it contributes directly to participants developing into leaders.
Here are a few more of the conclusions from the study which you can download here:
This is very encouraging news about ways that we can fight the effects of poverty through education. Check back on our blog or contact us here for more information about the program were developing!
This is "the Grandma of La Carpio." She is 87 years old and supports herself selling vegetables in the street. She came to Costa Rica from Nicaragua 16 years ago, and settled in La Carpio along with many others who started this squatter's community in what was simply a field on the edge of town at the time. She is a picture of dignity. She doesn't have her hand out expecting something for free. She has her hand out to offer something to potential clients.
Thanks to Willy Robles Aguileras for this photo!
In preparation for the launch of our first Jobs for Life class in La Carpio this Saturday, we recently did a search for synonyms of the word "work" on thesaurus.com. Sadly, many of the terms have a negative connotation, such as:
Doesn't make you want to jump out of bed in the morning and get to it, does it?! These terms reflect the predominant attitude towards work in this world. It's a curse, a drag, a burden...something we HAVE to do to pay the bills.
One of the many things we hope to teach during this Jobs for Life class is that work is GOOD. It gives us dignity by enabling us to be productive, showing us what we are good at, and developing those gifts and abilities through practice. It challenges us, takes us to the next level, gives us something to occupy our minds. It enables us to support our families by providing for their physical needs with the money we are paid to do our work.
God gave Adam work to do as soon as He created him: to rule over the creation (Genesis 1:28). This was not a curse initially. It was a fact of life. A blessing really, since lounging in the garden would tend to get old after while, and we all know what kind of trouble we tend to get into when we're bored. Adam needed an occupation, something to keep him busy. Only later after sin comes into play does God call out the toil that Adam will have to go through to get what he needs from the earth.
Some favorite quotes about the value of hard work:
"Far and away the best prize that life offers is the chance to work hard at work worth doing." AND "It seems the harder I work, the more luck I have." Thomas Jefferson
"Hard work spotlights the character of people: some turn up their sleeves, some turn up their noses, and some don't turn up at all." Sam Ewing
"If a man is to be called a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven played music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well." Martin Luther King, Jr.
"My grandfather once told me that there were 2 kinds of people: those who do the work and those to take the credit. He told me to try to be in the first group; there is less competition." Indira Gandhi
Quote of the month
""At the margins is the only place the Church will have credibility."