Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Focus Groups with the Grant Recipients

OYE's four month capacity-building program got off to a great start with two weeks of focus groups for the new grant recipients.

The focus groups were created to be an open space for the OYE team to listen to the students 
express themselves as individuals as well as hear what they want to do within OYE's program.
The fifty students are split up into small groups and come to one of three meeting times each week. The second week of the focus group OYE asked the students to tell us what issues in their communities were important to them. We asked them to think about the problems that they encounter and how they would work to change them.

We were extremely motivated by the answers and ideas that were expressed by the grant recipients and would like to share some of their thoughts with you all. Below is a combination of ideas presented by the three small groups:

1. Prejudice and Discrimination
2. Crime and Kidnapping
3. Prostitution and sexual exploitation
4. Corruption and lack of organization in the government
5. Education
6. Poverty and lack of resources
7. Ignorance
8. Exploitation of minors
9. Family disintegration
10. Drugs and Gangs
11. Physical and mental maltreatment
12. Sexually transmitted diseases
13. Environmental pollution
14. Immigration to the United States
15. Lack of recreational areas
16. Water treatment
17. Lack of work opportunities

The students then broke into small groups of four to five and chose one of the issues listed above. They worked together to create a short skit that they presented at the end of the meeting showing why this issue was important to them and their ideas on how to create solutions to the problem.

We are excited about seeing where their ideas and interests take us an organization.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

OYE begins the 2008 Scholarship Program

The 2008 OYE Scholarship Program is officially underway. Let me catch you up to date.

In November 2007, OYE received 155 applications for only 50 places in the Scholarship Program. Our selection committee interviewed 80 potential scholarship candidates in December and on January 17th we completed our last home visit.

The 50 students who were selected to participate in the program deserve to be celebrated. Thus, on Saturday, January 26, 2008, OYE staff, the grand recipients, friends, and family members gathered at a local restaurant in El Progreso to recognize their accomplishments.

  • Over half (62%) are young women
  • Twelve are attending various universities in the El Progreso area
  • Thirty-eight are middle and high school students
  • They range in ages 11 to 31
  • A large percentage of the students come from single parent households
  • Four students were raised in a local orphanage, COPPROME
  • All of the students are enthusiastic about their studies and making a difference in their community
I'll be writing back every week to tell you what it is like to be part of the OYE Scholarship Program. So check back frequently and feel free to share your thoughts and comments.