Jessica’s roommate in college had an uncle who was in the Corp and she used to sit and listen to stories of his adventures and how helped needy peoples in different places. Jessica used the inspiration she got from these stories to keep her going. When she was not working in the village, she spent her time visiting families and learning about their culture.
Most lived in impoverished conditions- 1 or 2 room houses with dirt floors. She played soccer with the kids and tried to understand what the kids wanted to do with their lives in the future.
At 15, the age of marriage, the children would become adults and further education would be lost. When she asked about going on for more, she discovered that the closest high school was 10 kilometers away. This 10 kilometer trip cost 50 cents each way which was just not affordable.
After further study she estimated that it would cost 100 dollars per child per year. There was a former Peace Corp volunteer that had been in Santa Teresa before her. She contacted her and discussed the problem. The Peace Corp model for funding led to an idea;They would seek donors to “adopt” a student for the five years of High School.
They created a scholarship program where they would fund a student and in return the student would write his/her sponsor of their progress. They would also be required to do 10 hours of community service in an effort to improve life for everyone in the village. This year 30 more students were added to the high school ranks.
During a holiday visit she was inspired to hear from people who had donated. The donors all said their lives changed from the interaction with the children. The program had improved their own lives by seeing first hand what conditions were like in another part of the world. Neff vows to continue the program until all the children are able to go to school.