Scholarship Fund for Disabled Soldiers

Donor: Motorola Solutions Foundation
Local Ally: Corporación Matamoros  
Beneficiaries:  65 soldiers injured in combat
Location: Bogotá, Colombia

For over 50 years, Colombia has suffered an internal conflict that has caused a great deal of suffering and grief for its inhabitants. Criminal groups have carried out many illicit terrorist acts, which affect not only the general public, but also the members of the armed forces and their families. Despite improvements in security and a reduction in violence, the number of Colombian soldiers injured in 2013 by just landmines was 368. Colombian soldiers do not have a high level of eduation and those injured in combat face an even bigger challenge to reincorporate into the labor market. These soldiers have the excruciating task of starting over in order to produce for themselves and their famlies.

This project sought to overcome these issues by providing disabled soldiers injured in combat with access to basic and professional education. Access to education is a determining factor in the inclusion of disabled individuals in society; it increases their employability and prepares them to enter the formal work force.  

In partnership with the Corporación Matamoros, the project provided scholarships for 65 young men affected by the Colombian armed conflict. Priority was given to soldiers that were affected by landmines. A total of 65 beneficiaries were selected and began their studies in January and July 2013.

The next phase of the project will provide a select few with access to entrepreneurial education from the local higher education organization, Sergio Arboleda University. The objective is to familiarize the participants with the importance of business ventures as an alternative to their lifestyle and generate income for themselves and their families, allowing participants to turn their idea into a business plan.