The MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program
Betania Jesuslí Taquiva Ramírez / Venezuela

Province: Barinas
City: Barinas
Age: 19

Class of 2013-2016

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Scholar: Benito Perez Scholar: Betzi Vivianna Salas Jiménez

Betania’s close-knit family lives in Barinas, Venezuela. She plans to return to serve as a member of the Ministry of Land and Agriculture and dreams of owning her own organic farm where sustainability will be the main focus. The organic farm would create jobs for those in her community and country, and teach small producers how to make the best use of limited land. She especially wants to work with prisoners, because “they’re people who can profit from agriculture. I want to create a system where people change for the better through agriculture.”

Most of all, Betania hopes to revive cacao production in Venezuela. With the discovery of petroleum, people stopped working in the fields and went to work for the petroleum industry. Meanwhile, there continues to be a high demand for Venezuelan chocolate. “You wouldn’t believe how chocolatiers around the world look for Venezuelan chocolate, but there are very few producers left.” Growing cacao is something that Betania views as part of Venezuela’s culture and she plans to make it a main export once again.