The Land of the Brave: young people are focusing on their studies
Tecpetrol is driving a scholarship program in Ecuador to help young people from rural communities to continue their higher education. We spoke to two scholarship-holders about the challenges of leaving home for the first time as they pursue their dreams.
The work carried out by our Community Relations area is a sterling reflection of the industrial values upheld by the Techint Group companies for over seventy years. We foster quality education and the development of young people thanks to educational programs such as the Technical Gene, the Roberto Rocca Scholarship program and AfterSchool, among others.
At the Libertador bloc in Ecuador, Tecpetrol has been running a scholarship program through the Pardaliservices consortium since 2019 to help high-school graduates from different communities in Lago Agrio, in the province of Sucumbíos, to continue with further education. In 2021, it was the turn of thirteen young people from small rural communities in Pacayacu and Dureno who had achieved outstanding results at secondary school and wanted to continue challenging themselves.
Darwin Vega, the coordinator of Community Relations in Ecuador, explains that Tecpetrol has been drawing up agreements with different institutions throughout the region, such as the Higher Technological Institute Crecer Más (ISTED, in Spanish) offering young people the opportunity to take technical training courses in subjects such as Business Administration, Agroforestry, Nursing, and Food Processing, among others.
Yanely is eighteen and lives in Shushuqui, a rural community in Pacayacu. Just three weeks ago, she started a Business Administration training course, a totally new experience for her. Due to the considerable distance between her home and the institute, she travels two hours to the ISTEC on Mondays and stays at the student accommodation facilities provided for three nights during the week. "It’s the first time I’ve slept away from home," she admits.
Although she misses her family, and it’s a big change for her, she’s not alone. She’s made friends with Mayuri, another of the new scholars on the program. Mayuri is nineteen and lives in the small community of La Granito. She decided to train to become a nurse and explains how fulfilling she finds this career, as she wants to help people and is inspired by the work carried out by the nurses at her local health center. "Living so far from home, from my mom and my brothers and sisters is very hard, I've never been away from home before," she says. Mayuri is the first in her family to start on the path of higher education--and she’s also met new people. In addition to her new nursing colleagues, she met Yanely with whom she struck up a close friendship, as they are both on the same path of learning, novelty and change.
In addition to the academic awards and material support, each of the scholars gets a computer and a range of technological items to help them develop their careers. Flor Jumbo, the communal president of Pacayacu, is of the opinion that this cooperation allows "our young people’s dreams to come true for these low-income families, making a big difference to the community in Sucumbíos."
Pacayacu is known as the Land of the Brave and these young people are a vibrant demonstration of what that means. Plucking up the courage to challenge convention, overcome obstacles and continue to grow.