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Making a big difference in Alto San Jorge

13 JULY 2017

Making a big difference in Alto San Jorge

Being a part of the local community means thinking in the long term and acting that way too. And it’s particularly satisfying to see the positive effects our involvement can have on the lives of local people.

For over 17 years now, the Cerro Matoso team has been supporting the Educational Support Plan (PAE in Spanish), which aims to improve the quality of life for low-income youth in the municipalities of Montelíbano, Puerto Libertador, La Apartada and San José de Uré.

Our team members make voluntary contributions, and the company matches their donations dollar-for-dollar. Initially, the PAE visited homeless children in Montelíbano, teaching to read and to write, and showing them how to seek new opportunities. Over time, the project has evolved into a way of helping young people with good academic records to attend university.

The supported students receive payments and other assistance to help them meet the challenges of moving away from their families and living in a big city.

The success of the plan is extraordinary – 25 people have graduated into professional careers, and there are 34 young people currently studying at university, thanks to the generous support of our people.

The Coordinator of the Educational Support Plan, Yadis Ramos Mestra, says that the programme has transformed the lives of many families. "With the PAE we are sowing seeds in these young people. Just as the initiative has been carried out with love and hope, these graduate professionals work with equal dedication in their communities. Without the support of the PAE, it would not have been possible for these young people in the region to access to the university. Several of the graduates work in the region, which is a great benefit for the example and development of the province", she said.

Daniela Roldán Bello is a Chemical Engineer from the University of Antioquia, who was supported by the Educational Support Plan (PAE). "This benefit has been the most important support I have ever received in my life", she says.

In 2017 scholarships were not awarded as priority was given to young people who are already studying, to ensure their successful completion. "For 2018 we plan to deliver at least one scholarship for each municipality (San José de Uré, La Apartada, Puerto Libertador and Montelíbano). We want the PAE to remain in force for a long time”, explained Mrs. Ramos Mestra.