Dear Editor – Since lending my support to students who had been given letters to study at Solomon Islands National University (SINU) but had limited financial means to support their semester fees and had requested some form of educational sponsorship to enable them to pursue their studies either at the University or at home, my email box has been inundated by young Solomon Island students seeking my help and possible intervention in their right to further education.
AS I had said in my letter to your newspaper, a sponsorship programme by the government might be impossible in the present, difficult economic climate the new DCC administration must be facing, but is there another way by appealing for international educational sponsorship? I know that in the UK of one organization that does assist students there. I am yet to find an international organization that would spread its reach to help in the Solomon Islands but am still trying.
Basically, how do sponsorship schemes for students work? Well, let’s look at Guatemala for example – and here I quote”
“Guatemala has one of the highest illiteracy and lowest school enrollment rates in Latin America, primarily due to the high cost of attending school which prevents many indigenous families from receiving an education. We strongly believe that education is the key to breaking the cycle of poverty that plagues the country and can create a better future for children and their families. That is why we promote education in each of the communities we work by facilitating sponsorships for thousands of students who otherwise would not have a chance to attend.
A student sponsorship covers the cost of enrollment fees, requisite school materials, supplies and uniforms, regular monitoring of school work and progress by a Mayan Families Social Worker, and provides students with access to our Charlie Gomez Medical Clinic as well as general educational support as needed.
One of the most rewarding aspects of sponsoring a student is how sponsors get to know them personally and see firsthand how their generosity can positively affect the student’s and their family’s lives. We provide various ways in which sponsors can form this personal bond with the student, including sending regular updates of their school report cards, giving the option to write letters directly to them, and letting sponsors know about their current family’s living situation on a regular basis. We also invite sponsors to travel to Guatemala and meet their student and their family one-on-one!
School Sponsorship Fees for 2015 & Payment Options
While the Guatemalan school year runs from January through October, we accept support for school sponsorships throughout the year. For more key information on our Student Sponsorship Program, please visit our Frequently Asked Questions page. If you do not find the answer you are looking for, do not hesitate to contact [email protected]
· To sponsor a student in Preschool through High School, the cost of one full year is $360 (that is just $1/day!) and you may choose to pay this on a monthly basis at $30/month. You also have the option to cosponsor a student for $180/year or $15/month.
· To sponsor a University student, the cost of one full year is $1,250 and you may choose to pay this on a monthly basis at $105/month. You also have the option to cosponsor a University student for $625/year or $53/month.
Through the profound investment of an education, you can change a child’s life and enable them to have a brighter future. We hope that you consider a sponsorship today.”
The particular website from which I have quoted sets out the manner in which sponsors can donate their money.
My question is what would be needed to appeal for external donor support for Solomon Islands students? Will the government look into the possibility of gaining outside sponsorship?
I am prepared to incorporate a sponsorship appeal section in my forthcoming charitable website but I would first need to know where donations would be received and administered and, indeed, the legality of my intervention because any donations forthcoming would not be aiding a registered charity in terms of the Charities Act (Chapter 55) of the Laws of the Solomon Islands.
Please could the question of outside, donor sponsorship be looked at sympathetically (and legally) and if I am to help at a time of the economic hardship the government faces, could I be given the proper advice I will need to see to the incorporation of such a scheme.
Former Police Commissioner