Give Jacira a chance at a career
Organized by: melissa benton
20 year old Jacira Chantre has dreamed of earning a college degree and working in the tourism industry for many years, and she may finally have the opportunity to make her dream come true.
Jacira and I first met in 2010 when I was serving as a Peace Corps volunteer in the rural village of Agua das Caldeiras on the island of Santo Antao, Republic of Cape Verde. I could tell immediately that Jacira stood apart from other 15 year old girls. She took our afternoon English classes seriously and liked to practice speaking outside of the class room. She demonstrated initiative and took on a leadership role as I worked with the young women in town to organize a culinary and entrepreneurship training. Additionally, she studied hard in school and received exceptional grades. Her achievements were so impressive, in fact, that she was awarded a scholarship to study abroad in Portugal in 2012. Because of a bureaucratic mix-up, however, she was unable to participate in the unbelievable opportunity.
Jacira has now been accepted into the ISCEE, a private university in Sao Vicente, Cabo Verde, whose name translates to The Higher Institute of Economic and Business Sciences. There she plans to earn a bachelor’s degree in Tourism Management and Planning. The four-year program includes courses in business management, English, French, environmentally sustainable practices, etc. and a one-year internship. Once completed with the program, Jacira hopes to work as a tour guide and later dreams of opening her own business. In addition to utilizing the skills that she gains as part of her degree program, Jacira will be able to share first-hand knowledge of the most popular tourist attractions on the island of Santo Antao. Her family’s home sits on the edge of the Cova volcanic crater and is within the boundaries of one of Cape Verde’s national parks.
Annual tuition at the ISCEE is $1,480 – almost half of the Chantre family’s annual income. This cost does not include room and board. Currently Jacira lives with her mother, three of her siblings, and two nephews in simple cinder-block home without running water or reliable electricity. Education and a career are key to bringing her kind, hardworking family to a more stable existence.
Donations will be paid directly to ISCEE on behalf of Jacira Chantre.