Through the UBELONG Fund, on June 25thUBELONG co-sponsored an event to raise funds for ANKAY, a US-based nonprofit organization that provides scholarships for Peruvian students from disadvantaged backgrounds to attend the most prestigious universities in Peru. ANKAY, founded by Peruvian professionals working in the United States, identifies promising students and supports them with funding, mentoring and networking opportunities. Over 900 people attended the fundraiser at a popular nightlife venue in Washington, DC, including many young professionals from the World Bank’s Y2Y community, the Inter-American Development Bank’s Young Connection network and the Organization of American States’ Young Americas Business Trust, all of whom co-sponsored the event with UBELONG.
For us, supporting ANKAY resonated with our mission to support grassroots development efforts that empower people to help each other and make a difference. We recently had the opportunity to interview Giovanna Monteverde, Communication Director at ANKAY, to learn more about her organization.
What motivated the founding of ANKAY?
Obtaining a university education is extremely difficult for most Peruvians. There are not many good universities in Peru and, consequently, competition is very high and the capacity to absorb the demand is very low. Additionally, many students are left behind because they cannot afford the tuition and living expenses associated with attending university. Unequal access to higher education has serious social consequences for Peru. ANKAY was founded to identify and support students who have the talent but lack the financial resources to receive high quality university education in Peru. ANKAY seeks a more inclusive society in Peru with equal opportunities for all.
What has been the impact of ANKAY since its founding in 2008?
ANKAY is currently sponsoring two students, Junior and Fabiola, who are studying at the Catholic University of Peru. This year five more were selected, and they are preparing to enter the Catholic University of Peru and the University of the Pacific in the fall. For Junior and Fabiola, the impact of becoming a part of the ANKAY community has been enormous. ANKAY offers them mentoring and networking opportunities and, most importantly, a sense of hope. The most important thing is that we make students feel that they are part of the ANKAY team and that we are there to support each other.
What is the role of volunteering in ANKAY?
ANKAY is led and managed by volunteers. The ANKAY team is a group of young professionals who are committed to improving educational opportunities in Peru, and all they do for ANKAY is on a volunteer basis. We work with a volunteer network of almost 100 people across Washington, DC and Lima. ANKAY fosters a volunteer culture to mobilize people and resources in order to fulfill its mission.
ANKAY exemplifies how diasporas can volunteer their time and expertise to work together and support their countries of origin. What role do you think the Peruvian diasporas can play in advancing social causes in the country?
They can play an enormous role. In the United States today there are thousands of Peruvian professionals. Most of them maintain a strong link with Peru and they know the challenges the country is facing and want to make a contribution. However, while they have the energy, skills and talent, finding ways to give back is difficult and that is where ANKAY comes in. ANKAY allows Peruvians living in the United States to turn their desires to help into action.
To learn more about ANKAY, visit their website.