Thursday, May 5, 2011

The Guadalupe Musalem Scholarship Fund

Last summer in Oaxaca, I stayed in an apartment owned by Nora V. in the Jalatlaco barrio. Nora had a young indigenous woman, XX, working for her who cleaned our apartment and Nora's house and also helped out with Nora's cooking classes. She was a student at the local university, but I could never figure out how she had the time to attend classes because she seemed to be at Nora's 24/7. It turned out that the young woman didn't have a computer to do her homework, so Nora allowed her to use the family's computer when she finished her housework. Even with this concession, it was a struggle for XX to stay in college, but without it, she would have had to drop out.

A group in Oaxaca who advocates for women's rights is the Grupo de estudios sobre la mujer Rosario Castellanos. Read about one of their fundraising efforts to help indigenous Oaxacan women as outlined on Facebook:

Thursday, February 11th, starts the campaign "Your Donation Transforms", which annually promotes the Guadalupe Musalem Scholarship Fund and has had many years of support from Mexican singer, Lila Downs. This campaign focuses on gathering donations primarily in the city of Oaxaca, but is open to the participation of all Mexican society. Your donation will help provide high school education for young indigenous Oaxacan women.

One goal of this campaign is to remind society that by supporting the education of a young indigenous Oaxacans, it also supports a family, a community, and country, in one of the states (Oaxaca) where 23% of the Indigenous youth are married at fifteen, and their average educational level is sixth grade.

The Guadalupe Musalem Scholarship Fund was established by the Study Group on Women "Rosario Castellanos" A. C. (GESMUJER) in 1995 in memory of one of its members, and aims to support the high school education of young Oaxacan indigenous women of low-income.

To date the fund has issued 12 calls, benefiting 62 young women, reaching 30 Indigenous and rural communities of Oaxaca, located across 7 regions of the state and with very positive results: 8 interns completed a profession, 18 interns are enrolled in high school, 21 graduates are studying engineering or other degree, 12 completed high school, but did not continue with their studies, and 2 became part of GES Mujer "Rosario Castellanos.

For 11 years Lila Downs has contributed to this foundation along with sponsors, donors and local volunteers, giving concerts to benefit and support the organization. And on this occasion, with her attendance at the annual breakfast, we start the fundraising efforts. This is the opportunity to join forces from the generosity, commitment and desire to improve the ways of indigenous youth to continue their studies and contribute to the development of our society.

For more information about the Scholarship Fund Guadalupe Musalem, donations and contributions, contact:

Lic. Tania Melchor
Area de Comunicación
Grupo de estudios sobre la Mujer "Rosario Castellanos" A.C.

The next concert Lila Downs will give to raise funds for the scholarship is tomorrow at the Ethnobotanic Gardens in Oaxaca:

image via

I hope when I return this summer to hear that XX has been able to continue her studies and wonder what I will do if I find that she has not.

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