Project Paria has worked in a variety of educational areas, from supporting village primary schools to giving scholarships for higher education and supporting a women’s cooperative.
Project Paria awards scholarships to talented but economically deprived young people to pursue higher level qualifications ranging from diplomas to university degrees. The scholarship covers living and educational expenses. We provide each student with a mentor to help with the transition from studying in a remote impoverished community to the demands of university life.
We have provided grants to village primary schools for educational materials such as books, pens and notepads and general supplies like plastic cups and plates. Many children arrive at school with absolutely nothing and these supplies help with the day to day function of the school.
One of the key principles of Project Paria is to recognize that poverty is not purely a financial concept. For many indigenous Bolivians, particularly those in the Altiplano region of which Paria is a part, there are no opportunities to witness and understand many elements of their country. Bolivia, perhaps more than any other country in Latin America has a diverse array of art, music and politics making up a rich culture and often tragic history. The tough nature of the altiplano, where for many daily life is a constant struggle, the lack of exposure to aspects of life which many of us in the western world take for granted, is a further indication of lives blighted by poverty.
Project Paria has made grants to enable youth groups to organize visits to Sucre, the capital of Bolivia where young people can enter the building where the Bolivian declaration of independence was signed. They can see the awe inspiring cathedral, visit museums detailing the different groups of peoples including the Incas who have inhabited the country of which they too are a part.
Projects such as the building of the Paria Community Centre enabled many young people to learn construction skills that will help them gain employment in the future. Other diverse courses have been organised teaching skills such as hairdressing that will help provide long term benefit for young people and their families.
Project Paria has made various additional grants for employment skills training.