Education for a better Belize

Date: April 21st, 2016

Juan Bol (’17, Belize) The MasterCard Foundation Scholar is a 21-year old student from Toledo, a sunny southern district home to mostly rural Mayan farmers like his own family, who grow cacao. The rich natural resources of the area contrast sharply with the quality of life of its residents, who live in what Juan calls “one of the forgotten districts of Belize.” He explains, “Many people don’t have access to water, electricity, health services or quality education. Our first language is Mopán and we learn English at school, but only 10% of students in my village graduate high school, which creates a language barrier that isolates us further.”

Juan represented EARTH at the 2015 One Young World Summit in Bangkok, Thailand, where he was awarded a social venture fellowship by The Resolution Project.

Juan represented EARTH at the 2015 One Young World Summit in Bangkok, Thailand, where he was awarded a social venture fellowship by The Resolution Project.

 According to Juan, “The opportunity to study abroad has given me a whole new mind set and perspective; I am able to better identify the deficiencies of my country. As someone who grew up in Toledo and also has worked in direct contact with children, parents, teachers and villagers, it became clear to me that lack of education is the main cause of poverty in my region.”

Last year, Juan applied for the One Young World Summit in Bangkok, Thailand and won sponsorship to attend the event, which brings together young leaders aged 18-30 from 196 countries to debate, formulate and share innovative solutions for the world’s pressing environmental issues. At the November 2015 conference, Juan found out that his PODER proposal had been selected to receive a fellowship by The Resolution Project, an NGO dedicated to supporting young social entrepreneurs with funding, mentorship, access to professional resources and networking.

On April 6th, Juan organized a Cricket Day on EARTH’s campus to commemorate the United Nations Day of Sport Peace and Development and as a part of the commitment that One Young World Ambassadors from the Caribbean made to revive cricket in the region. The event was supported the One Young World Organization, the Cricket Federation of Costa Rica and the Embassy of Trinidad & Tobago.

On April 6th, Juan organized a Cricket Day on EARTH’s campus to commemorate the United Nations Day of Sport Peace and Development and as a part of the commitment that One Young World Ambassadors from the Caribbean made to revive cricket in the region. The event was supported by the One Young World Organization, the Cricket Federation of Costa Rica and the Embassy of Trinidad & Tobago.

In total, Juan received $3,000 of seed money to get his project up and running. Currently, he is working to select a handful of rural schools near Punta Gorda that will benefit from the project, identify 15 low-income students who will receive scholarships for books and materials and register PODER as a non-profit organization in Belize. “Our goal is to inspire transformational leadership by creating a space for positive dialogue among Belizean youth, and offering education opportunities and technical workshops that will equip them with career training and to engage through participative decision making in Belize’s development.”

“My own life-changing experience of moving from poverty to receiving an educational opportunity thanks to a good mentor and access to information could be replicated in other students just like me. Sharing and giving back can fulfill the dreams of many underprivileged youths and help them support their families, be informed citizens and stimulate constructive development within their communities.”

  • Eugenia Yglesias

    Un testimonio muy inspirador y no hay duda que la educación de una sola persona es suficiente para identificar las necesidades y limitaciones de su población para proponer estrategias educativas para el cambio. Es excelente que haya recibido un fondo para promover la educación en los jóvenes y en unos años el impacto será visible. Será una comunidad orgullosa de sus raíces que llevará la frente en alto con dignidad. Un fuerte aplauso para Juan Bol :-)