Sunday, September 13, 2009

Week 3

This week I´ve completed interviewing almost all of the Mosqoy students. On Thursday we went back to Ollantaytambo to conduct the selection process of the next batch of students.

Our day started by going to the Ollantay collegio (high school), where Ashley, Raul and several of the Mosqoy 1 students distributed the applications. The students had about 30-45 mins to complete the applications. We received about 70 applications that day. The team then went to a coffee shop in Ollantaytambo to review the applications. The reviewers consisted of Ashley, Raul, and five Mosqoy 1 students (Ebhert, Erlinda, Elvira, Rolando and Adrian). Gerry and I participated as the observers.

They had a four-star system going on, where each reviewer would rate each application from one star being the worst to four stars being the best application. In total each application was reviewed seven times. The ratings were based on the students´ responses, with the focus on whether they had any specific plans for when they graduate, whether those plans included ways to help their respective communities, and whether they´ve included any examples of how they´ve demonstrated their leadership abilities in the past. Generally, a person would get shut down if they put that they want to leave the country once they graduate or if they had incomplete one-sentence responses. I read a few of the applications and was startled to see how many times under the ¨family situation¨ question the students would talk about their fathers being drunks, or that they didn´t have parents at all.

It took almost an entire day to review all of the applications. In the end almost 40 applications were eliminated based on the preliminary application review and ratings. About 25 applications received 3- to 4 star ratings, which were placed in the pre-selected batch. Another 6-7 were placed in the ¨maybe¨ batch pending reviews of their grades and discussions with their teachers.
The next morning we went back to the high school to review the selected students ´grades. About 4 students from the ¨maybe¨ batch were eliminated due to low grades.

Three more students from Mosqoy 2, Dina Alvarez, Gisela Vilches, and Maberic (who are also all featured on the Education Generation website) joined us the second day.

In the end there were about 30 students that were pre-selected. Ashley and Raul then announced their names and held a meeting with the pre-selected students. During the meeting Raul invited a doctor and a dentist from Ollantaytambo to talk about different careers that exist in medicine. Mosqoy is now trying to promote other disciplines of study as almost 85% of students choose to study tourism or hotel management since it is the only thing that the students are exposed to in Cuzco and in their communities. Dina Alvarez, who is studying nursing, talked about opportunities that exist in the nursing career and why she likes studying nursing. Maberic talked about why she chose to study Gastronomy and Gisela talked about her chosen career of tourism and hotel management.

After the short presentation there was some time for Q&As. We then took pictures of every pre-selected student. The next step of the selection process is to meet with the students and their parents and/or their legal guardians to ensure that they are supportive of their kids participating in Mosqoy. This meeting is scheduled for Sept 26, after I leave Peru. Ashley, Raul and the Mosqoy 1 students are also planning to visit each of the pre-selected students’ houses to ensure that there is indeed financial need. One of the Mosqoy´s criteria is to support only those deserving students that don´t have other means of paying for their education. So for example if their family is well-off enough (relatively) to support their kid at an institute, they will be eliminated at this stage.

The next step will also involve discussing the pre-selected students with the teachers and other people from the community focusing on their past behaviors and their family situations to again ensure that there is indeed financial need and to ensure that there are no red flags about the pre-selected students. After these final steps, Mosqoy will make a final selection of 12-14 students, which will all be featured on the Education Generation´s website.

Friday afternoon we went back to Cuzco, just in time to visit a cooking class of the three of the Mosqoy 2 students (who are all also Education Generation´s students): Guillermina Duran, Fiorela Zegarra, and Maberic Vazquez.

The class was two hours long, and our students made a wonton soup, part of their Cocina Internacional course. At the end of the class we all got to taste their creations.

Later on that day we went to Raul´s house for some dinner and drinks.

Maberic Vazquez, one of Education Generation´s students, during her cooking class

Maberic and Fiorela cooking

Fiorela Zegarra, one of Education Generation´s students, during her cooking class

Guillermina Duran, another one of Education Generation´s students

From left to right: Fiorela, I, Guillermina and Maberic

Maberic talking during the selection process

Dina Alvarez, another one of Education Generation´s students, talking about a career in nursing during the selection process

Gisela Vilches, Education Generation´s student, talking about her career in tourism during the selection process.

From left to right: Gisela Vilches, Maberic Vazquez, and Dina Alvarez

Reviewing the applications

Students completing the applications at the high school


  1. I only found my way to this blog after the EdGen newsletter came by email. I have enjoyed reading every word and it is so exciting to see some of the young people we have supported through EdGen. I do hope this program will continue and benefit more young people who truly need a hand up to be able to help themselves and their families. Jan (from Jan & John)

  2. Keep up the hard work ladies! I know how important this is to both of you. Zaya, I have never met you, but I have volunteered for Mosqoy since its inception. I have watched it grow over the years and it is so special to me to see where it is now. Congrats to both you and Ashley for your wonderful work over the last three weeks. Thanks for the great read!

    Lauren Portner
    -Victoria, BC

  3. Jan, John and Lauren!

    Thank you so much for your kind words and for your continuous support. It it because of supporters like you we are able to do the work that we do. And thank you for following my blog!