The Student Leadership and Employability Program entitled “Soy Cambio” is aimed at generating better conditions and opportunities for young Central Americans, in order for them to successfully conclude their high school studies, opt for a technical career and competitively enter the labor market.
The initiative includes the following three benefits for the participating students:
- Economic Contribution: Involves a monthly scholarship (US$100 in Costa Rica and US$50 in Nicaragua) given to the students for the purchase of products from the Basic Food Basket and expenses related to their studies (transportation, school supplies, meals, among others). This financial aid is offered until they finish their high school studies.
- Follow-up and Support: Aimed at identifying and addressing risk situations among the students at personal, family and social levels which could prevent them from continuing their studies. The follow-up process is carried out with the support of a network of tutors made up by Grupo Monge employees, high school counselors and other allies of the Foundation.
- Employability: Aimed at improving the employability profile of each beneficiary. This component takes into consideration English training sessions, technical education and Skills for the XXI Century (by using Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality). Additionally, this section includes actions related to the mediation and inclusion of the scholarship beneficiaries into the labor market, as well as mentoring during the first three months of their placement within the labor market.
- Young people from 15 to 19 years old
- Students from public high schools (both academic and technical institutions)
- Living in poverty and/or at social risk.
- Strong and proven desire for self-improvement.
Thanks to the support of our allies, the “SOY CAMBIO” initiative allows students to receive several additional benefits (aside from the monthly financial subsidy) that improve their employability profile. This is how they become a part of the different “Generations” that make up our program and are detailed as follows:
The Monge Foundation has an alliance with the Costa Rican Association of International Baccalaureate Schools (ASOBITICO, as per the Spanish acronym). This agreement is aimed at presenting the “SOY CAMBIO” program to students from public high schools who are up for the challenge of completing the IB.
We are currently supporting students from six public high schools enrolled in this two-year pre-college program. During this time, the students’ performance is measured in accordance with rigorous international academic standards that allow them to build a more peaceful and humane world.
This program came about as a result of an alliance between the Monge Foundation and the Embassy of the United States of America in Costa Rica so as to offer opportunities for talented public school students at social risk and under the age of 20, to learn and improve their knowledge of the English language.
Three generations make up the ACCESS program: ACCESS 6, ACCESS 7 and ACCESS 8, with 87 active students from academic and technical high schools located in the Greater Metropolitan Area (GAM, as per its Spanish acronym).
The ACCESS courses are taught by professors from the Costa Rican-North American Cultural Center and financed by the US State Department and the Central America Regional Security Initiative (CARSI), a plan implemented by the United States for the Central American region.
All students were chosen as a result of their academic performance, leadership skills, entrepreneurial capacities and their interest in learning the English language. The scholarship holders will study English for two years, during which time they will develop all language skills: listening, conversation, reading and writing.
The expected result is for 85% of students to reach a B1 level upon concluding the ACCESS Program.
This initiative benefits 100 Costa Rican students (50 from Puntarenas and 50 from the country’s Southern Zone) enrolled in ninth and tenth grade in public high schools, between the ages of 15 and 16 years old. These students are poverty stricken and at social risk.
Students receive the benefits included in the “SOY CAMBIO” program, using 100% of the CARSI resources to finance the Employability component which takes into consideration the following benefits:
- A two-year Full Scholarship to learn and perfect the English language.
- Six training sessions given by the Monge Foundation throughout a two-year period.
- Two SOY CAMBIO camping trips for the 120 students for which the project is designed.
The Monge Foundation was able to go as far as the Southern Zone of Costa Rica thanks to an alliance with the Costa Rica National Commission for Cooperation with UNESCO in order to implement the “SOY CAMBIO” program at 6 high schools belonging to the Grande de Térraba Educational Region: Pacífico Sur High School (Liceo Pacífico Sur), Finca Alajuela High School (Liceo Finca Alajuela), Osa Professional Technical High School (Colegio Técnico Profesional de Osa), Boca de Sierpe Rural High School (Liceo Rural Boca de Sierpe), Bahía Drake Rural High School (Liceo Rural Bahía Drake) and Yimba Cajc Rural High School (Liceo Rural Yimba Cajc). Fifty students from the area will receive financial aid and other benefits to ensure their permanence in high school, a successful conclusion of their studies and the ideal conditions for their medium-term integration into the labor market.
This alliance also promotes sustainable development and intercultural dialog through education, as well as a sense of belonging to specific cultural characteristics.
In association with the Costa Rican Investment Promotion Agency (CINDE, as per its Spanish acronym), the Monge Foundation has supported this program since 2014. This project has benefited over 300 students.
The objective is for students from technical high schools to graduate with an English level greater than B1 –in accordance with the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages– and have access to better employment opportunities in multinational companies that are continually demanding bilingual workforce.
The scholarship includes a weekly four-hour English course lasting 16 months, complete with learning material throughout the entire program and an international certification test from the University of Cambridge.
“SOY CAMBIO” is designed for each new generation to participate in for a period of no less than three years but no more than five. During this time, the students will conclude high school and enroll in a technical program or pursue college/university studies.
The “Mesoamerica Health” (“Salud Mesoamérica”) initiative is a socio-educational intervention model that involves the participation of entities such as the National Institute for Children (PANI, as per the Spanish acronym), the Center for Education and Nutrition-Integrated Center for Child Health Center (CEN-CINAI, as per the Spanish acronym), the Costa Rican Department of Social Security (CCSS, as per the Spanish acronym), the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Education, among others. Its objective is to prevent risk situations to which the students are vulnerable to such as teenage pregnancy, and to avoid them from having a second child before the age of twenty. This is why the Department of Educational, Vocational and Career Guidance of the Ministry of Education and the Monge Foundation have formed an alliance to support a group of students from Sulä (Talamanca), Guápiles, Limón, Térraba and Coto (Ciudad Neilly) by including them in the “SOY CAMBIO” program.
This generation is made up by 60 students who have been granted a scholarship by the Victoria Foundation (Fundación Victoria), living in conditions of poverty and with an excellent academic record. They are all enrolled in technical programs such as Sales Management with an emphasis in Marketing, Food Technology and Industrial Mechanics. The students are mostly from Managua, Ciudad Sandino, Ometepe Island, Masaya, Nagarote and Ocotal, among other Nicaraguan cities.
This program was created as an alliance between the Monge Foundation and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB, as per its Spanish acronym), with the technical support of the Ministry of Public Education (MEP, as per its Spanish acronym) of Costa Rica. The initiative is entitled: “Generating Capabilities in the New Labor Force for the Economy of Knowledge”.
The initiative is focused on benefitting 800 students from public high schools, organized as follows: 500 students from Technical High Schools, 250 from Academic High Schools y 50 students who have completed the “SOY CAMBIO” program with a technical specialization in advanced manufacturing but who have not yet become part of the labor market.
The initiative is directed at poverty stricken students from public schools between the ages of 16 and 20 years old, who will receive financial support, technical training in areas linked to advanced manufacturing, mentoring, training in the English language, guidance and assessment for their insertion and consolidation in the labor market, as well as instruction related to “Skills for the XXI Century” by using mobile technology (virtual reality, augmented reality and gamification).
Of the program’s total financial investment (¢2,000 million Colones), the Monge Foundation will participate with a financial endowment of ¢1,400 million Colones and the IDB with ¢600 million Colones. It is estimated that by 2019, close to 680 students (85%) will already work for companies linked to the Advanced Manufacture and Services sectors.
The Foundation’s Program is funded thanks to the donations we receive from GRUPO MONGE (a privately-owned company), who allocates a percentage of its earnings to the development of the organization’s social programs.
Arline Mora Arroyo
Luis Dobles Segreda High School (Liceo Luis Dobles Segreda [Sabana Este])
“I am extremely grateful to the people who so lovingly took time and shared with us such wonderful experiences…You have built our dreams and given us so much support because you have believed in us and connected us to other people with inspirational stories. Thank you, Monge Foundation!”
Luz Marina Narváez
Generación: “Soy Cambio-CARSI”
Technical Professional High School of Puntarenas (Colegio Técnico Profesional de Puntarenas)
“Both CARSI and the Monge Foundation have meant a great deal in my life; not only because of how much the economic support has changed my family but also because the program has taught me to go out into the world as a prepared person, with a clearer vision of what I am and what I want to become”.
Generation: “Soy Cambio-UNESCO”
CTP de OSA
“Just like all of you, I have dreams, goals and objectives…And thank God and the SOY CAMBIO team, many of my aspirations are coming true. Being part of this program has changed a big part of my life, has allowed me to reconsider my abilities and capabilities, but above all, it has made me want to be a better person and let go of my fears”.
Former Monge Foundation Beneficiary
Position: Regional Operational Assistant (Acquisitions Department)
“The Monge Foundation has been a great opportunity for me. Thanks to them I have not only benefitted from financial support, I have also found a second family, a support system and friends always willing to listen to me, help me and instruct me…”SOY CAMBIO” allowed me to make my dreams come true, be successful and obtain the tools to advance in life. Today I am working for this great company, something for which I am deeply proud and grateful.
Colombian philosopher, international speaker, President of the AVINA Foundation and strategic partner of the Monge Foundation. “To be leaders we must first become citizens with the capacity to build collective solutions within collective systems…You have taken on this responsibility and must continue shaping these students on the basis of the dignity, understanding, solidarity and the strong institutional structure they want to live in to be happy human beings”.
Aimy Villalobos Cascante
Graduated Soy Cambio
“Fundación Monge made me a fighter, someone with a thirst for learning and making a difference… For me, it’s an organization that has given me countless opportunities to overcome my shortcomings under the conviction that no dream is too big if you fight to reach it”.
Abdul Vallecillos Cabrera
Generation: SOY CAMBIO
Liceo Edgar Cervantes Villalta (Hatillo)
“For me, these past three years as a Fundación Monge scholar have been the best in my life. So many experiences, opportunities and workshops shared with others… You have taught me that economic status doesn’t matter because there’s always a way out and that even if the dream seems too big, it can be achieved through perseverance and hard work”.