Bud Keith Scholarships
PCPF’s Bud Keith Scholarship Fund for the Blind began financial aid to Estefania Cubillos in 2016 when she was a journalism student at the University of Panama. She graduated in April 2019.
While a student, Estefania, competed in a contest run by SENADIS, a government agency that promotes the rights of the disabled. The competing journalists did not have to be disabled but their stories had to be about inclusion of the disabled. Estefania took first prize in the radio category.
In 2016, to help celebrate its 25th year of service, the Patronato held a contest for public speaking. Estefanía won first place. You can see her oratory on YouTube. Her topic is the value of assisting visually impaired people and the important role the Patronato plays in this. She specifically cites two programs supported by our donations, mobility training and computer training.
After graduation, we funded an internship for Estefania (see the Employment Experience page.) and then she was off to Eugene, Oregon, for the Women’s Institute on Leadership and Disability (WILD), a program of Mobility International USA (MIUSA). MIUSA describes the three-week program as follows: “WILD women will move forward in their personal and professional roles as community, national and world leaders. Through a series of intensive seminars and site visits, delegates will focus on using the media, implementing policy and legislation, networking with international allies, and improving employment and educational opportunities. Delegates will also participate in team building activities such as an outdoor challenge course and river rafting, and learn about U.S. culture by staying with local families.” See https://www.miusa.org/event/2019/wild for more. The photo at left shows Estefania in Eugene with her host family. Most of the expenses were paid by the organizers, but the Bud Keith Fund paid for a few incidental expenses, like getting her visa to go to the US.
Estefania is from Columbia, so she has applied for a visa to be a permanent resident of Panama (where her mother now lives). Until she gets that, she’s not allowed to work.