News March 2003


Dear Friends,

I believe that I wrote you fourteen months ago about possible follow-up from the visit of Loida Cutipa and Cecilia Paco. There have been further developments - exciting ones. Please excuse my long delay in keeping you informed. I have been distracted, among other things by the climate of fear that surrounds us. BQEF does not address those fears but nurtures hopes, and I trust that you will agree that nurturing hope is one of the things we must continue to do in times of fear.

As a result of conversation both at home and in Bolivia, a number of us have been led to launch the Bolivian Quaker Education Fund (BQEF). I am writing now to invite your support. BQEF is now a seasoned idea and a legal entity incorporated in New York State. Unlike the Quaker Bolivia Link (QBL), the mission of BQEF is religious and educational rather than secular and economic: "to strengthen ties between Bolivian Quakers and those of North America and Europe through programs that improve the education of Bolivian Quakers and of Quaker schools in Bolivia and neighboring countries." Two Friends meetings (Purchase and Buffalo) have endorsed all or part of BQEF, and it has received small grants from NYYM and Buffalo MM. All together little more than $5000 was raised in 2002.

A plan emerged, with an original focus on scholarships for post-secondary education for Bolivian Friends in Bolivia - an urgent need, because of the large number of qualified but impecunious Friends in Bolivia. It was soon apparent, however, that there were also other needs and desires. As a result there are four dimensions of the BQEF program: scholarships for post-secondary education, exchanges between Quaker schools in Bolivia and the US, strengthening instruction in English, science and computer literacy, and enhancing infrastructure. These four dimensions have been projected out five years, and I will be happy to send you a copy of the five-year plan.


Bernabé Yujra Ticona now works half time as Coordinator of BQEF programs in Bolivia. He comes with 20 years experience as a teacher, six years work with QBL, and considerable service on the executive committee of INELA. Bernabé has already begun pulling together groups (from both the principal yearly meetings) to work on BQEF programs in Bolivia, and some of the these groups have already met. There have been meetings administrators as well as of teachers. It is the Bolivian Quaker educators who determine the direction and the details of the programs. BQEF seems a catalyst for much energy and ideas. Our first grants were scholarships: fourteen awards of $50 per month. The scholars are both men and women, from both INELA and Santidad, and their studies include accounting, business administration, dentistry, teaching, and agronomy. They send an outpouring of gratitude. Bernabé has prepared thumbnail sketches of the recipients; I find them moving and would be glad to send you a copy.

Loida and Cecilia are both thriving. Loida continued working at Emmanuel School (there were not enough funds to send her for further training) and began taking English courses in the evening; she is determined to find a way to return to the US, but is also a faithful member of her family. She now has one of the scholarships, for which she is exceedingly grateful. Cecilia finished her university degree!! (It involved not paying the phone bill for a couple of months, and the devotion of her husband Nelson.) She is now helping Bernabé organize the improvement of English teaching in Quaker schools. BQEF now has an office in Illampu Street in La Paz, a convenient location for students and teachers to meet together or to meet with Bernabé. He would be glad to meet you there!


The incorporation of BQEF was accomplished in the middle of last year, and the incorporators continue as the board of directors. Some others have agreed to serve, and we are in the process of strengthening the organizational structure, which will need to include Friends willing to take responsibility for overseeing aspects of the work.

One feature of the organization is putting together a Founders Circle, composed of Friends who contribute $1000 or more to get the program off the ground. Most of the funds collected last year came from such donations. More would be welcome.

We have prepared a new flyer. It is not glossy - just printed out on a PC. But it does have color, a photo of a Quaker class in Sorata, all the essential information, and on the inside a copy of the five-year plan. For now it will have to do, and if you can use some copies I will be glad to mail them. At this point contributions of any and every size are needed. The money we have in hand will not carry us through the year, and we need to have the support of a larger number of individual Friends before we approach foundations. The number of donors counts, as well as the amount raised. You could help. So, perhaps, could your meeting.

BQEF, Inc., is a not-for-profit corporation in the State of New York and a project of Buffalo Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends. 501(c) 3 status is still pending. Tax-deductible contributions may made out to BQEF or to Buffalo Meeting (earmarked 'BQEF'), and sent to BQEF at 11253 Springville-Boston Road, East Concord NY 14055.


Let me know if you would like to have:
-> copy of the five-year plan
-> copy of the thumbnail sketches
-> copy of the background sheet
-> copies (how many?) of the flyer and thumbnail sketches and background for your meeting and/or friends (by USPS only—I need your address).

If you wish to hear no more about any of this, respond with "DELETE" in the heading.

With wishes that "that Light and Spirit which was before Scripture was given forth" may bless your life, I am

In fellowship,

Newton Garver, President, BQEF March 13, 2003