It’s that time of year again. Fresh-faced college students are packing up their cars, waving good-bye to their parents, and driving off to a new school year. Similar scenes are happening all around the U.S.—and the world. High up in the Andes Mountains of Bolivia, about 700 excited students are preparing to fill the classrooms of Carmen Pampa University, one of Cross Catholic’s dynamic ministry partners. Coming from the cold, harsh conditions of the Altiplano plateau, these students are leaving their indigenous Aymara Indian families in pursuit of a degree that will one day help lift their communities out of poverty.
“This college offers tremendous opportunity for young people who have all this potential, and nowhere to go,” said the school’s Vice Director General Hugh Smeltekop, when he visited our office last month.
Carmen Pampa University offers a Catholic education with five degree programs—nursing, ecotourism, veterinary science, primary education, and sustainable agriculture. All of these programs equip students with a skill that will enable them to be agents of change to their communities in the future. And that’s exactly what Carmen Pampa graduates are doing.
“It’s a beautiful thing to watch students evolve from eager freshmen, who want to change the world but don’t know how, into adults who have developed their skills and have a goal for their lives,” said Hugh.
Many of the graduates are already making a huge impact in their communities—from nurses serving in rural hospitals to alumni working in microfinance helping the poor develop business plans.
This new academic year promises continued success. As the students move into their dorm rooms and begin their classes, Cross Catholic is making sure their minds and bodies are well-nourished for the semesters ahead.
Hugh said: “We really are one single body in Christ. That’s why Cross Catholic’s help is so important to us—we both believe that every student is worthy of a good education.”
At Cross Catholic we are blessed by projects like Carmen Pampa University that offer empowering opportunities and holistic care to each student on their campus. So when you pray for your college scholar this fall, please remember the 700 students at Carmen Pampa University who will one day take what they learn and impact impoverished communities in Bolivia for Christ!