Image courtesy of Nicolás Chauz Chavarro.

Spreading Success: How an educational scholarship impacts the life and community of Nicolás Chauz Chavarro

The region where Nicolás Chauz Chavarro lives is in the center of the department of Huila, in the municipality of Tarqui in a town called Maito. Like most of Huila, the main crop in Maito is coffee, but what makes this area truly unique for Chavarro is its sense of community and brotherhood. “What I like most about my home is the way we support each other and how we are always thinking of each other’s well-being.”

With a family in the coffee business, Chavarro is no stranger to hard work. One day, he dreams of starting his own business as an entrepreneur and to give back to the people who raised him. “I dream of having a lucrative business from which I can live comfortably and can help my family members if they are ever in need,” Chavarro says. “I started dreaming about [this] when I realized that the independence of owning your own business or farming coffee is better than being employed by someone.”

As a member of COOCENTRAL, Chavarro’s father is seeing the benefits of coffee farming with the Fair Trade association. Through this affiliation, Chavarro’s family found out about a scholarship being provided by COOCENTRAL through their partnership with Fair Trade USA and Laughing Man® Coffee and were quick to suggest that their son apply.

“I found out about the education scholarship through my father,” Chavarro says, “I decided to apply for the scholarship at the beginning of last year. My family and I discussed it, they supported the idea, so we decided to go for it.”

From there, Chavarro contacted the customer service line of COOCENTRAL, visited their nearest branch and obtained an application form. For Chavarro, it was easy to see the benefits an educational scholarship would bring him. “I do not have enough money to start a business nor am I old enough or have enough knowledge to work towards my dreams, [so for now, my main goal is to] finish my studies to eventually be able to achieve my dreams.”

Within a matter of days, the selection had been made and Chavarro’s life would never be the same. “I found out days after having sent the required documentation. I was anxious because I was calling and following up by phone and they informed me that they were still considering at that time. [When I found out I had received the scholarship] I was with my parents, we were all at home. My father received the phone call and he [immediately] shared the news after he got off the phone. We were all very happy. I was very excited about the news that they had selected me to be one of the beneficiaries of this scholarship.”

Chavarro doesn’t take this opportunity for granted. “Nowadays knowledge is vital,” Chavarro says. “It changes your vision and perspective in life. I am excited, ahead are new challenges that I must overcome, I will need to pass each of the subjects with the best possible score in university.”

For Chavarro, an educational scholarship is not just an investment in himself, but an investment in his family and his community. “In terms of my community...most cannot afford university studies for their children. This scholarship provides a source of hope so that, like me in receipt of this scholarship, others can benefit too. In addition to this, my studies make me a much more qualified person to offer help in certain areas of development [for] my community.”

This article was sponsored by Laughing Man® Coffee.