Adopt-a-Dream is a IPA/Rotary program where individuals, families, service clubs and church groups can sponsor secondary and university students from poor families in Copán, Honduras. Sponsors provide the funding for school supplies, uniforms, textbooks, fees and other expenses for a student of their choice. Sponsors receive letters and photos from their student, and are welcome to visit.
Honduras is the poorest mainland nation in Central America. Many of the Mayan people of Copán survive on $1 to $2 per day per capita, much of it earned during the coffee harvest. Few families can afford to send their children to school. As a result, many children drop out of primary school after only a few grades, and very few advance to secondary school or beyond.
Which students are in the program?
Virtually all of the students in this program received their primary education in an indigenous Mayan village school in the mountains surrounding the town of Copán Ruinas. We select students who live under conditions of extreme poverty, who have a grade point average of at least 80%, who are enthusiastic about continuing their education, and whose parents are supportive. For 2019, we have about 520 students from 38 villages in the program.
A few villages have a middle school (grades 7 to 9), but virtually none have a high school (grades 10 to 12). None have a university. Many students in this program attend school in another village or one of the region’s small towns. This often requires walking an hour or two to school.
What supplies are provided to each student?
Each year, we provide your student with the supplies they need, such as notebooks, pens and pencils, textbooks, a backpack and a uniform. We also pay any required school fees. Supplies are personally delivered by IPA to every student at the start of the school year in early February.
Since we began this program in 2016, our scholarships have resulted in an increase of more than 400% in the number of students attending middle school. Demand has been so high that we have opened 10 new middle schools.
Educated people make more informed decisions, have better life skills, have smaller and healthier families, are more likely to succeed with a micro-enterprise, and contribute more to the development of their communities.
Education is an essential tool for breaking the cycle of poverty. Studies have shown that average incomes in rural Honduras rise rapidly with each additional year of education.
Your generosity will improve the life of your student and future generations.
We welcome sponsors who would like to develop a relationship with their sponsored student. In this program,you are known as your student’s padrino or madrina (literally godfather or godmother).
At least once per year, you will receive a photo and letter from your student. When we visit your student, we deliver any letters and photos received from you. Your student will be thrilled to hear from you. We provide a free translation service for correspondence.
If you come to Copán Ruinas, we will gladly arrange for you to visit your student, including a translator if needed. At the same time, you can visit the world-famous Copán archaeological park, a major center of the ancient Mayan civilization.
Can I communicate directly with my student?
We ask that you communicate with your student through us. This allows us to translate for you, and to intervene if the student’s family asks you for money or gifts.
There is no mail service in Mayan villages, but with the passage of time more students are gaining access to a smart phone and can exchange messages on social media.
What does it cost to sponsor a Student
The annual cost of educating a student is $180 in middle school and $280 in high school. University costs depend on the institution.
Can I choose the student I sponsor?
Yes, we will help you choose a suitable student. You might prefer a student with a specific gender, grade level or home village.
Do you have to make a long term commitment?
We ask that you pledge to sponsor your student for at least three years (four years for university). Of course we understand that circumstances can change, and that you might need to end your involvement in the program.
Who administers the program?
Program funding is managed by the International Project Alliance (IPA), a group of many Rotary clubs in northwestern Washington State. Our partner in Honduras is the Rotary Club of Copán Ruinas. They purchase and deliver the supplies and uniforms, and pay the school fees.
What percentage of donations actually benefits the students?
100% of every donation is used to buy supplies or pay school expenses. Shopping, deliveries, translations and program administration are performed by volunteers who cover their own expenses.