Since the mid-1990s, Sisters of Providence in El Salvador have enriched the lives of hundreds of students through the Providence Beca Program. In 2021, the program served 65 students in El Salvador and now, thanks to a generous donation of land, the sisters plan to build a second facility as well.
ScScholarships, beca in Spanish, are based on projects students design and present themselves. Projects have ranged from something as complex as planting an orchard at an elementary school or as ‘simple’ as teaching a senior citizen how to read and write. The youth, many of whom are below the poverty line, must report regularly on their progress.Sr. Marita Capili and Sr. Marcia Gatica run the program.
The expansion to the “Island District” traces its roots to a visit Sisters Marita and Marcia with the St. Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of the Sisters of Charity. After seeing the poverty and lack of educational opportunities in the region, Sisters Marita and Marcia began working with students in 2018 using the Missionaries’ facilities.
A donor – learning of their work on the islands of San Sebastian, Punta Arena, La Pirraya, and Rancho Viejo – gifted the Association of the Sisters of Providence with land on La Pirraya Island. The Mother Joseph Province has approved construction of a facility for the program in the Island District this year. The new facility will include a meeting room, the beca office, a psychology clinic and a small community living space.
The facility will be built with the collaboration of engineers and architects from Universidad Centroamericana José Simeon Cañas (UCA) and with help from the mayor’s office to transport building materials to La Pirraya island.
In a move that shows God will not be out done in generosity, a donation to buy a boat was also made by the Providence International office in Montreal (see photo). Not only will the reach of the beca program expand, but these projects will also generate temporary jobs for the people on the island. In 2022, four high school students will graduate this year; three will go on to pursue university study. Eight university students will graduate with the degrees in Public Accounting, Business Administration, English, Communication or Agroecology Engineering.