GROW Scholar Highlight: Meet Jenifer

Meet Jenifer, one of our GROW Scholarship Recipients!

The Scholarship Program

Poverty and wealth inequality are significant challenges in Mexico. About 18% of the country lives in extreme poverty, and among rural communities, school dropout rates, absences, and grade repetition are serious problems.

These issues are seen in settings like Cerro de Ortega, one of the communities where a lot of our scholars live, where there is a higher incidence of violence and drug abuse.

In this type of setting, children are often encouraged to start contributing to family finances rather than continuing school. This is because school means more expenses such as: internet access, commuting, uniforms, and school supplies.

Through the program that is administered in conjunction with Project Amigo, students and parents learn to understand the value of education and a pathway for a better future early on. The retention rate for those proceeding to middle school is 87% compared to 65% for those who do not participate in the program. Similarly, students from Cerro de Ortega who have been supported through GROW show a higher level of advancement to university than any other area of the state.

Meet Jenifer

Jenifer is 14 years old and in her second year of junior high. She lives with her mother and three siblings. Her mom works making tortillas.

  • What she wants to be when she grows up: a lawyer
  • Her favorite subject: science
  • Hobbies: reading and drawing

When she learned that she’d been awarded a place in the GROW Scholarship Program she shared it, “Made me so happy I wanted to jump for joy!”

As a GROW Scholar, Jenifer is responsible for maintaining a GPA higher than 8.5, performing 10 hours of community service each month, and attending homework club.

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GROW Scholar: Meet Cintya

Opportunities for Women

The reality is that economic conditions in growing regions can often result in family pressure for girls to drop out of school and help at home. The GROW Program offers girls and young women the resources necessary to continue their education, from middle school through college. Because of this they are able to follow their dreams and help break the cycle of poverty in their communities.

Aspiring to College

Cintya was born in Tecoman, the youngest of nine kids. She grew up and studied in Cerro de Ortega and later went on to Colima to earn her college degree.

She began her college studies in 2008 but in 2010 it was difficult for her to continue her education due to her economic situation. Through the GROW Program and Project Amigo she was able to finish her studies and had a place to live while she finished her school semester.

“Being part of the program gave me the opportunity to meet extraordinary people and the tools that aided my personal development. I had the opportunity to travel abroad and participate in noble projects such as the vision clinic.”

The program had such an impact on her that the friendships she made transcended the length of her participation in the program and continue to this day.

She finished her studies with a master’s in education with a specialty in the administration of centers for learning. Today she is the proud mother of a seven-year-old son and works as a Technical Pedagogy Advisor in special education.

What’s Next for Cintya?

“I still have a long way to go. The process of empowerment has not been easy. I have faced many obstacles but none of them impossible to overcome.”

Cyntia recognizes that at times work can demand so much of women, she shares that it is important to give ourselves room to let off steam and recharge our batteries so that we can keep working toward our goals.

And she isn’t done yet! She hopes to be recognized by her peers for her contribution to centers of education, to establish a non-profit association that supports women victims of domestic abuse, and most importantly, to guide her son in becoming a great part of this next generation.

Way to go Cintya, we’re so proud of you!