How GROW Helps Fund Students through Project Amigo in Mexico

Bev Oster Project Amigo

As GROW celebrates a milestone of 10 years of giving back to Mexican and Ecuadorian communities, we want to share information on how the funds raised from GROW organic banana sales are distributed and used. With the help of GROW donations, Project Amigo is able to aid the rural families in Mexico that live near the banana plantations. Educational scholarships pay for school uniforms, textbooks and supplies for the youth and homework clubs provide a safe and supportive environment for students to visit after school. Learn more about how GROW benefits Project Amigo’s mission in this interview with Project Amigo Chairman of the Board Bev Oster (pictured above).

What is Project Amigo? 

“Founded 30 years ago by Ted Rose and Susan Hill, Project Amigo helps provide access to education for youth in the poverty-stricken areas of the state of Colima in west-central Mexico, where many Organic Unlimited bananas are grown. The organization does so by providing scholarships to allow promising students in need to continue their studies.”

What does a scholarship pay for?

“The scholarship money aids in expenses such as school and PE uniforms and shoes, supplies, registration, school and lab fees and bus transportation from their villages to the towns where the schools are located. These scholarships also help university students who have dreamt of pursuing higher education through housing at Casa Amiga.”

How else does Project Amigo support students?

“Project Amigo hosts homework clubs after school. These clubs serve as quiet, safe spaces that students can come and work on school projects. There are paid tutors, many of which were Project Amigo scholars themselves at one time, who are available to help with homework. Computers with Internet are also available for use. Project Amigo students are required to attend homework club sessions weekly to maintain their scholarship eligibility. They must also earn an 8.5 GPA (out of a 10-point scale) and donate 10 hours of community service per month.

“At the college level, Project Amigo keeps housing in Colima, called Casa Amiga, near the university. Project Amigo scholars are eligible to live in the house, where staff members cook meals and provide an environment for students to focus on their studies.”

How can I become involved in supporting Project Amigo?

“A major amount of Project Amigo’s funding comes from Organics Unlimited and GROW, so simply by purchasing GROW organic bananas, you are helping Project Amigo and its students! There are also opportunities to sponsor a child through an annual donation or through an educational scholarship. If you’d like to take the next step and be immersed with Project Amigo, consider visiting for a designated work week, where you can tutor English, deliver books to schools and households, help youth pick out new shoes and more. You can find more information about Project Amigo on its website.”

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