The scholarship awards ceremony took place at the FUNDEHUMAC headquarters. This year it was not possible to find a public auditorium due to remodeling and other institutional commitments. The space was more limited than usual but it provided a cozy atmosphere for the children, other students and their relatives to participate in a friendly, familiar and intimate setting.
This mid-year, 18 scholarships were awarded for the period July-December 2010 and an interesting exchange took place between the children of Paso a Paso and students of MFI. A visiting professor, Ms. Charlotte Jones, from Okanagan College in British Columbia, Canada, who is very interested in making a contribution to the program, brought some gifts which were distributed among our scholars. Books and dictionaries were also received. Ms. Jones donated coins which were engraved with various symbols that represent the many virtues within the Canadian indigenous community. The children of Paso a Paso distributed these coins to their older mentors, expressing their feelings about being the one who gave the gift instead of the one who received it. It was a touching and meaningful ceremony.
For the first time, we saw a big increase in the number of indigenous relatives in attendance. Now, MFI sponsors three indigenous students: one from the Wayuu ethnic group and two from the Wiwa or Arzario people. It is expected that our first indigenous student, Sebastian Pastor, will graduate by May 2011 and there are candidates waiting in line to be considered for our program.
MFI scholars continue to work on social programs and to mentor the children of Paso a Paso. Some MFI students work on social programs that are financed by the international community and the Colombian Human Rights Commission. These programs attempt to address the social imbalance that was caused by the violence during the internal conflict.
MFI scholars organize workshops to teach victims of violence how to assemble, to exercise their rights under the constitution and to propose, participate and execute initiatives to develop and improve their social condition with the participation of the local government to ensure adherence to responsible practices.
All these accomplishments show how FUNDEHUMAC has successfully helped in the social formation of MFI scholars who have a more developed social commitment to society than any of their peers. We are very pleased with our scholars and with their many accomplishments!