The Santa Maria Education Fund supports a variety of projects, mostly at tertiary level. So far it has helped to fund the following:
• the Santa María Institute, founded to enable poor students to continue their education after secondary school, without paying fees.
• scholarships to the Universidad Católica and other universities, for courses such as Law, Accounting, Education, Business Administration, IT, Agronomy, Dentistry and Nursing. We also cover bus fares or boarding costs, and study materials.
• English course materials and Cambridge ESOL examination fees, with teaching by volunteers from the UK. Knowledge of English is increasingly necessary in today’s world.
• an agricultural project to help campesinos grow organic vegetables more efficiently.
• expenses of many other courses including Agricultural Technology, Motor Mechanics, Microelectronics, Dance, Guitar, Harp, Athletics, Tourism, Computer Studies, Politics and Justice Issues, and Catechetics.
SMEF aims to pay whatever is necessary to enable a good student to continue, and this varies according to each student. We usually expect people to try to pay for their photocopies and exercise books, but this is not always possible.
Margaret Hebblethwaite and her colleagues see all the SMEF students regularly and keep in touch with their needs.