David C. Harmon Memorial Scholarship Program

For many students in the rural areas of El Salvador, the dream of education comes to an abrupt halt long before reaching high school.  The costs associated with school can be prohibitive to families living in poverty.  Our scholarship program supports high school and university students in El Espino who demonstrate a strong desire to continue their education, dedication to their community, academic achievement, and great economic need.

What makes our program unique?

Our students are not just recipients of funding. They are part of a scholarship program. They receive their scholarship stipends at monthly meetings that are run by Yessenia, the promotora, or community organizer, whose salary is paid by the FCE through the Centro de Intercambio y Solidaridad (CIS). They must attend these meetings with a parent or designated family member and bring an update of their grades. Monthly workshops are given that students are required to attend, with topics ranging from gender equality to national reality and the environment to voter education. They also have to dedicate at least one day a month to community service projects that they plan and implement in teams.

Why is this important?

Our students have ongoing support, encouragement, and above all, accountability.

Families become stakeholders in the scholarship, and by extension, in their student’s success, so they give them the support they need at home to finish their homework and study.

Their scholarship money is spent on school-related needs because it comes in small, monthly payments, rather than being spent all at once on other “needs.”

Both parents and students build community and widen their support network (called “social capital”) as they spend time and work together and while they attend workshops and training sessions on a wide range of social issues.

Students become committed to their community and to its success as they work to identify and solve many of its problems.

Students learn skills like research, budgeting, planning, and problem solving, while planning service projects. They also have to be leaders in the eyes of adults – including the mayor! – to carrying out service projects.

The scholarship benefits the whole community as students give back. Many of our students teach literacy to older adults, reaching more than 30 illiterate each year. Other projects have included a reforestation and community beautification campaign, in which they planted more than 100 trees around the community, and a voting education campaign before the last election to instruct people on a new ballot process.

In sum, the scholarship program ensures that students are successful not just academically, but in terms of inspiring a spirit service and developing valuable life skills. They feel constantly supported and accountable, and their successes extend beyond themselves to their families and community.

We commit to supporting each student for the whole of his or her academic career–from high school through college! This year, we have 23 students—15 university students and 8 high school students!

We are proud of how this program has grown (from just 3 high school students in 2009!), but we need your help to make sure that each student can make their dreams reality. Please consider adopting a student for the coming year for just $300/year for high school or $1000/year for university!


Sponsors receive a photo and regular updates from their students, and of course, would have the opportunity to meet their student by traveling with the FCE to El Espino!

Click on the PayPal link below to make a one-time donation or to enroll in automatic monthly payments.

Click on the “Meet the Students” button to read each student’s profile!

Meet the Students


Scholarship level
High School : $25.00 USD – monthly
University : $83.00 USD – monthly
Education partner : $10.00 USD – monthly