The Graduation of Elizabeth & Elmer – A Mosqoy Success Story

Friday, January 10, 2014 - By: Aetheline C

In 2006, when Ashli Akins ventured to Peru with nothing but a backpack and a desire to make a positive difference, she found communities which were faced with a vicious cycle of poverty and cultural loss. Seeing the changes that needed to be made, Ashli got right to work. Through several initiatives like the Textile Revitalization Program and the Andean Youth Program, Mosqoy, the charity she founded, now offers these communities (whose number has grown from three to 18 in the past seven years) not just a hand out, but a hand up. By doing so, Mosqoy strives to leave these communities self-sufficient and capable of economic growth, instead of simply giving them what they need.

A large part of this initiative is the Andean Youth Program. Each year, Mosqoy sends 20 students to the city of Cusco to receive post-secondary education in their chosen field of study with the help of sponsors.

In 2010, Brentwood started a sponsorship of two Peruvian students, Elizabeth & Elmer. In Cusco, Elizabeth has been able to pursue a degree in Business Administration, while Elmer, one in Computer Science. Over the last three years, the SAC has enjoyed fundraising for and supporting Elizabeth & Elmer through their education, with events like the fall dance and dress-down days. It has been a pleasure to be part of such an important part of Mosqoy’s mission. Elizabeth and Elmer’s graduation this June brought an immense amount of joy.

The ceremony was held in Ollantaytambo, celebrating their 10 graduating students of 2013. The ceremony commenced with a speech via Skype from Ashli, who was unable to be there, as she was at Oxford finishing up her Masters degree. Following that, several speeches were made, including one from Elizabeth, the class' Valedictorian. Finally, the graduating students were invited up onto stage to receive their diplomas.

Elizabeth and Elmer have excelled throughout their academic careers in Cusco while living at Casa Mosqoy. Through her time in the Andean Youth Program, Elizabeth has completed a practicum with the Q'ente Textile Revitalization Society, Mosqoy's sister organization, to study fair-trade, sustainable development practices, and import/export legislation, all while being an active member of the Casa Mosqoy household. Together with her degree in International Business Administration, she is opened up opportunities working towards more equitable and just business practices in the Sacred Valley Region.

Elmer, who has taken a variety of theoretical and practical courses in computer science and technology, has participated in the building of a library in the community of Q'enqo as well as a weaving centre in the community of Bombon.

24 Brentwood students and their faculty leaders will be traveling to Peru during Spring Break to connect with Elizabeth & Elmer, as well as other Peruvian students currently living in Casa Mosqoy, whilst assisting them in renovating and moving into their new dorm. The service trip will include a three day hike into the Andes to meet their families and learn about Peruvian culture.

Brentwood congratulates both Elizabeth and Elmer on their graduation, and we wish them a bright future.

Aetheline C, Alex ‘14

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