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Those of us who knew Ephraim Alphonse, Filiberta and the vision which energized their efforts have selected 2017, the hundredth Anniversary of the Mission to celebrate and to stimulate dialogue around this mission and vision.

EAlphonseMany of us believe it is worth recreating the vision to open new doors for the children in the area, For example, plans are in the works to create a Childrens’ Library and information Center, to purchase boat(s) and to provide reliable transportation, stipends and lodging for those dedicated to Panama’s cultural diversity. Additionally, we seek to introduce micro-credit and other small business infrastructure, so that the native peoples themselves can reap financial benefits from the rich legacy of arts, crafts and artisan industries. These strategic plans require consistent sponsorship.

OUR MISSION

The mission of the ALPHONSE SCHOLARSHIP FUND is to increase options for escaping poverty for the indigenous guaymi through education”.

OUR VISION

Worldwide, more than 120 million children are unable to attend school. In Panama, like most indigenous people, illiteracy is a serious problem among the Gnobe. Only 18 per cent of children ages 15-19 in the Ngobe-Bugle comarcas had schooling beyond sixth grade compared to the national average of 65 per cent. 6 The Alphonse Scholarship Fund wants to make a difference in this aspect. We strive to see a next generation of guaymi leaders not only breaking the cycle the poverty in their own lives but also actively helping their countrymen do the same.

The motto of this project is “Changing Lives Through Education” because Rev. Ephraim Alphonse believed in education as a tool for liberation. He not only believed it but modeled education as a lifelong quest.

We believe, as he did, that education provides children with options. Options to escape poverty, options to gain a voice in their community. Options to make a difference for the better in their own lives, their families, their community and (why not?) their country.

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OUR GOAL

Rev-AlphonseOur financial goal is to raise at least $200,000.00 USD (Two hundred thousand dollars) by January 2017 to stabilize efforts to educate and to celebrate all of Panama’s peoples, particularly its native populations. The agenda is ambitious and includes improving the visibility, quality of life and access to health and education. The potential to have direct, positive impact on marginalized groups within the Isthmus is great.

So is the scope of the mission. We need your financial support to give wings to many worthy ideas, multiple proven projects and hundreds of thousands of bright, motivated young people. Think about how your dollars can make a difference. Invest in the future. Now.

Our goal is to help over 450 students by the year 2017 stay in school and graduate.
To achieve this goal, for each student, per school year, we will provide:
• At elementary level:
• $200 worth of school supplies (text books, copy books, uniforms, etc.).

• At middle school level:
• $250 worth of school supplies

• At high school level:
• $300 worth of school supplies
• $100 for a comprehensive vocational aptitude test to help students discover their strengths, aptitudes and passions so they can choose their future career wisely. Click here for details.

• At college level:
• $500 worth of school supplies, support with tuition, transportation and living expenses.
Students will be screened and followed up on.

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Your support is highly solicited.

Alford Alphonse,
Proud Son of Ephraim & Filiberta Alphonse, and a past pastor of the area.


Why I’m proud to be part of This Project

It was “raining cats & dogs” one morning when I was helping my mother run an errand at the Banco Nacional on 10th street Río Abajo. While I waiting in the car, I noticed an elderly West Indian woman with a walking cane struggling to open her umbrella. As I offered to help, I asked where she was going. She said she was planning to cross the bridge over to 99 Supermarket, so I offered to take her in my car if she was willing to wait a few minutes for my mother. She gladly accepted the offer.

To strike a conversation, I asked a question I always use when I meet elderly West Indian folks: “Did you, by chance, know Rev. Ephraim Alphonse?” Her face immediately lit up like a Christmas tree! Oh, yes!, she said enthusiastically, and she started talking about some positive memories she cherished about my grandfather. After she finished bragging about him. I proudly stuck my chest out and said, “Well I’m his grandson!”. If this has happened to me once, it has happened a dozen times! The name, Ephraim Alphonse always strikes a pleasant cord in those who knew him. I’m proud to be part of this project because I’m proud of my grandfather!

I also have personal reason to recall my grandfather’s memory with fondness. “Abuelito” served as a surrogate father during my passage through adolescence. What a role model he prove to be for me during those difficult teenage years! I still remember my grandfather praying —by name— for all his grandchildren. I’m convinced that if today I’m serving The Lord it has been powerfully influenced through those prayers. I’m proud to be part of this project because I am proud to pay “forward” at least some of what my grandfather invested in me.

When my mother started the Alphonse Scholarship fund shortly after his death in 1995, I would often talk with her on how this initiative was going. While I was glad about what was
being done, I often left the conversation with a nagging feeling that this could and should go to the next level. When my mother became seriously ill in 2012, I started wondering
what would become of this wonderful initiative. After praying about it I decided to jump in. As I step into my Mom’s shoes as Convener, I am proud to “pickup the baton” my mother started in the race to preserve the legacy of our grandparents.

Wesley-E-JonesThe emphasis on this project is “Changing Lives Through Education” because Rev. Alphonse believed in education as a tool for liberation. He not only believed it but modeled education as a lifelong quest. He instilled it in his children and grand children. I’m impressed by that fact that every one of his children and grandchildren has achieved at
least a college degree. I aim, with the help of the whole Alphonse Family and many, many friends to take this project to a whole new level as we see Abuelito’s vision of helping the
Guaymi people though the gospel and education alive again. I’m proud of that!

Blessings!
Wesley E. Jones
Proud Grandson of Rev. E. S. Alphonse

 


6 World Directory of Minorities and Indigenous Peoples