“I Am Belize” Scholarship Program
Restore Belize’s I AM Belize Scholarship Programme commenced in 2010 with initial investment from the Protected Areas Conservation Trust (PACT) and the Apostolic Nunciature in Prague (ANP of the Czech Republic). The predominant goal of the Scholarship Programme was to foster an enabling environment for the enrichment and empowerment of Belizean students. The initiative, aimed at assisting students from economically challenged circumstances to complete their secondary education, initially impacted 30 students.
During the period 2012-16, the Belize Natural Energy Charitable Trust (BNECT) provided a four-year grant to ensure continuity of the program through the provision of scholarships to 60 matriculated students to enable them to complete their high school education. The grant which totalled $330,284.00 covered the costs related to students’ tuition, books, uniforms, tutoring, scholarship club membership, internship opportunities and mentorship support. Participating students were selected based on family income and area where they lived. The I AM Belize Scholarship Programme differs from other scholarship programmes in that it is a needs-based programme, rather than merit or performance-based as are most available scholarship opportunities. The scholarship provides opportunities to students who want to continue with their education but due to life dynamics their parents are not able to assist them financially. These students, despite the circumstances of their lives, have continued to show up and do their best at school. In 2016, RESTORE Belize partnered with BNECT to raise funds for the next four (4) year period (2016-2020). The BNECT again partnered with Restore Belize for another four years for the continuation of the program with an investment of BZ$75,600.00 for the 2020-2024 period.
In this its 13th year, the programme has impacted over four hundred (400) students with either full scholarship (books, tuition, and uniforms along with access to wraparound services) or partial scholarship (tuition or books) to students. One hundred and sixty-seven (167) students were recipients of full scholarships, but more than one hundred (100) students further benefitted from educational contributions from the programme. Of the one hundred and sixty-seven (167) full scholarship recipients, eighty-one (81) or forty-nine percent (49%) have graduated from high school. Throughout the 10 years of implementation, the programme’s average annual passing rate is 82%. Total investment in the Programme exceeds $900,000.00 with the largest donor being the Belize Natural Energy Charitable Trust.