Scholarships are a Part of the Solution to Poverty

Kelvin at his public school in Troilo

León, Nicaragua

Kelvin Antonio Montiel Muñoz

While primary schooling in Nicaragua is free and compulsory through high school, many students in rural areas have limited access to schools, and students from impoverished families often start working at a young age to help support their family. To bridge this gap, ViviendasLeón provides scholarships to students in the rural communities of Goyena and Troilo to assist them in finishing school. The main objective of this program is to grant academic scholarships to students while instilling skills for academic success. While education is free, many families cannot afford the associated costs, such as books, transportation, and uniforms. Therefore, scholarships are an important source of hope for students who wish to finish school. 

Kelvin Antonio Montiel Muñoz has always lived in Troilo with his family. After excelling academically in primary and secondary school, Kelvin was awarded a ViviendasLeón scholarship in his third year of secondary school. The $35/month scholarship helped Kelvin afford to buy books and focus on school, as his family was not able to afford the costs associated with his education. He began studying English in school, and after completing secondary school, Kelvin was selected to study English in the United States through a State Department scholarship based on his outstanding academic performance. For ten weeks from January to March 2017, Kelvin studied English at Murray State University in Kentucky. He says of his experience, “It was a great opportunity to travel to the United States, get to know its culture, and live with Americans.” 

Upon returning to his home in Nicaragua, Kelvin began studying for his degree in English from the Universidad Martin Lutero in León. Attending college is a significant achievement for many Nicaraguans, as only about 14% of the population is enrolled in higher education. For low-income families, higher education is even less attainable, as tuition is difficult to pay. However, Kelvin has been able to break this cycle by working hard in school and continuing his education in college. He says, “I continue with the help my family, ViviendasLeón, and all of those who have supported me, so that one day I can be a professional and help my parents who have spent their lives working in the fields, which is very difficult.” ViviendasLeón’s scholarship program has provided Kelvin with ongoing support to help him continue to excel. 

Below you can read Kelvin’s translated autobiography:

Kelvin with his classmates at Murray State University

“My name is Kelvin Antonio Montiel Muñoz. I was born on the 23rd of June, 1998. My parents are Roman Montiel Galeano and Argentina Del Rosario Muñoz Torrez. I grew up in the rural community of Troilo in the department of León with my parents, my sister Brayan Alexis Montiel Muñoz who is in her fifth year of primary school and my sister Tania De Los Angeles Galeano Muñoz who is married.

I started my education at the age of 6 in my community’s primary school, also named “Troilo.” When I was thirteen years old I began to study at the Colegio Educativo Cristiano Vista a la Montaña. During primary and throughout all of secondary school I performed well academically. During my third year in secondary school ViviendasLeón began to support me with a scholarship of $35 dollars a month so that I could continue my studies. I am grateful because we are a poor family.  My father works for the San Antonio Sugar Mill harvesting sugar cane and earning no more than $90 a month. My mother is a housewife. My parents are from León and have always lived in the community of Troilo. 

In 2014, the U.S. Embassy began offering full scholarships to study English for two years called the Access Program. I was very interested, filled out the forms and applied. On the 22nd of September 2014, I began to study English in addition to my normal education. I am grateful that I had good academic standing and finished studying English in July of 2016 the same year that I finished secondary school. Once I finished the English program the U.S. embassy offered me another scholarship to improve my English in the United States. In order to get it, I had to apply to receive the scholarship. I succeeded at receiving the scholarship and studied English from January to March 2017 at Murray State University in Kentucky, sponsored by the U.S. State Department. It was a great opportunity to travel to the United States and get to know its culture and live with Americans.

After I returned home, ViviendasLeón continued to support me, allowing me to study at the Universidad Martin Lutero to receive my degree in English. Today I am working as a public school director in my community of Troilo, helping children with their studies, and supporting them to keep their eye on graduation and beyond.”

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