“Apart from the economic support, which is not the main thing for me, they also offer emotional or academic assistance. It is not uncommon to feel frustrated or anxious, but there’s no need to make a mountain out of a molehill because the Portas Foundation is here to help,” explained María Camila Paineo Pilquiman.
She is a student participant in the “Building the Future” program [Construye Futuro] who shared her story during a virtual event to renew the alliance between CMPC and Portas Foundation whose aim is to help higher education students continue their education.
Camila is currently in the second year of the Business Administration and Engineering program at the Subercaseaux Institute in Concepción and was a 2020 program beneficiary. She said that the scholarship helped her acquire the tools she needed to keep studying. “Last year I didn’t have a computer, and thanks to the scholarship I now have my own, which makes it much easier for me to do my university work. Truly, this is of great assistance for all of us and helps us build our professional profiles for the future.”
The program’s objective is to help socially and financially vulnerable youths who come mostly from rural areas in the Maule, Biobío and La Araucanía Regions obtain higher education degrees.
CMPC General Manager Francisco Ruiz-Tagle underscored the importance of this initiative for the company. “Supporting this program is essential in conjunction with the Portas Foundation because it is a comprehensive program aimed at assisting young adults as they progress through higher education programs to help ensure they earn their degrees. This makes us proud to say with this initiative we our helping build the future of many young people.”
General Manager of the Portas Foundation Juan Carlos Aubert said, “We have been working on this program for more than 13 years. One of the most important things is to build community. We meet all kinds of people in the process who come from different backgrounds with various ages and professions. Participating in this program helps them to create connections, networks and ties that will help them now and in the future. I encourage them to take advantage of this wonderful network, this amazing community that is forming right now.”
The program provides monthly financial aid, tools and support throughout the entire undergraduate period. This helps ensure they are fully integrated during the first year to keep making educational progress and promotes degree completion. This comprehensive professional training means they will be ready to help build the community, region and nation.
The thing that makes this initiative led by the Portas Foundation stand out is the ongoing comprehensive support it provides to students. It includes socio-emotional support, academic leveling workshops, tutoring, soft skills workshops and counseling upon entry into the labor market.
Such support is fundamental for students to remain current in their studies at their respective higher education centers, as they come from diverse municipalities including Tirúa, Cañete, Collpulli, Lumaco, Victoria, Ercilla, Angol, Nacimiento, Los Angeles, Arauco, Nueva Imperial, Concepción, Talca, and others.
“Having professional support through this program helps a lot, especially having a psychologist you can talk to and a space for conflict resolution,” said Cristian Leonel Millabur Canquil, a psychology student at the Autonomous University of Temuco and program beneficiary.
“I motivate them to keep going, complete the degree programs they’ve chosen, and to take advantage of the privilege they have with this sort of program. I think this is how they can contribute to the future of their families and the communities they come from,” added Francisco Ruiz-Tagle.
The “Building the Future” alliance between CMPC and the Portas Foundation began the second half of 2019 with 110 student scholarships. It increased by 90 students in 2020 with 200 more students added in 2021. It currently benefits 400 higher education students with 16 graduates so far.
The degree programs with the highest selection rates for this year’s students include Commercial Engineering, Business Administration, Nursing, Occupational Therapy, Nutrition, Nursing Technician, Social Work Technician, and Nursery School Technician.