The MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program
María Fernanda Romero / Colombia

Province: Cundinamarca
City: Tabio
Age: 18

Class of 2014-2017

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Scholar: Malumbo Praise Mkandawire Scholar: Maria Fernanda Sánchez Gómez

María Fernanda grew up in Tabio, Colombia. Every year, preparing her family’s garden for a new season, María Fernanda felt as though she was “reconnecting with something. It was beautiful to turn the soil and watch new plants grow year after year.”

During her final year of secondary school, María Fernanda joined the robotics club. The club made prototypes of machines that could assist elderly farmers with cultivating crops and won first place at a Lego competition in Cundinamarca. Despite not having the funding to see their robotics prototypes put into practice, María Fernanda was left with a sense of satisfaction in knowing it was possible for her to better life in her community.

Agriculture is considered an unstable profession in Colombia and María Fernanda has noticed a collapse in the agroindustry and the country’s economy. After graduating from EARTH University, María Fernanda wants to return to Tabio to teach her community a form of sustainable agriculture that can guarantee stability. She has also noticed “a lot of young people are embarrassed to say that their parents, or grandparents, or family are farmers or dedicated to agriculture.” María Fernanda hopes she can change their attitude by combining her love of agriculture and art.