In 2010, Glenis Beatriz Martinez Mungia, from the Boca de Cantero sector in Chacraseca, started taking classes in Business Administration at a local university. Her family all worked hard to help cover the costs, but there simply were't enough resources to put food on the table and pay for school. Glenis had to quit she thought her dream was over. Then 20 women came together to change that.
Women are so very underprivileged in Nicaragua that it is twice as hard for them to make it through school as it is for men, and far fewer women are able to garner the resources to pay for schooling. Many do not even finish high school. So, JustHope created 20 Women of Hope
The founding partners — 10 women from Messiah Community Church, ELCA, Denver and 10 women in the Boca de Cantero sector of Chacraseca, Nicaragua — created a partnership to start changing the inequity in higher education chosing Glenis as their "pilot" student. The women stay in touch with each other through letters, cards, and videos. (Read some thoughts on the development and progress of this project here.)
This is how 20 Women of Hope works:
10 women in the US commit to providing $1000 annually for a young woman to go to University. This provides funds for tuition, supplies, transportation or housing, tutoring as needed, and JustHope staff support for the student and her group of women mentors.
The Nicaraguan women select a young woman whom the group will support - someone they know and can meet with on a regular basis; someone they trust will do the hard work college will require. And they surround that woman with intentional and careful support for as long as the two groups are able to sustain their partnership (it takes 5 years to graduate).
The two groups of women then share their own journeys with each other by writing letters and cards, sending video clips and emails, and relaying stories and greetings through JustHope's staff.