Milán Tapia, Dominican Republic
Milán realizes her calling to teach after ending a fight right in her front yard
While Milán Tapia was standing in her doorway, she spotted a group of small children hurling insults at each other. The children wore tattered, dirty clothes and were squared off in two opposing groups on the street ready for a fight.
Quickly preventing the skirmish, Milán called them to her house and distracted them with snacks and stories. She found knives, scissors, and rocks in their pockets. In exchange for their weapons, she gave the children pencils and notebooks. They returned to her house daily, and she nurtured them with cookies and more stories. With only a seventh-grade education, Milán taught the children all she could about reading, writing, and math and her little school began to grow.
She was already a successful client with Esperanza, a Grameen Foundation partner in the Dominican Republic, but her small clothing and upholstery business could not raise enough capital to feed her new students and give them school supplies. Esperanza gave her larger loans to invest in her new line of work.
Milán now teaches 212 students and is empowered to move into a new building where she can teach 200 more. She charges tuition on a case-by-case basis to those who can afford it, and awards scholarships to those who can’t. She is full of ideas and plans for the future. “I have long-term dreams. I want education quality to improve, I want the kids to have better food, I want kids to feel better and be more confident, and to be treated better. I also want all parents to be educated so that they can help their children with their homework. For me, I want to continually be strengthened by God.”
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