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Oil Money opens opportunities for Belizean Students Print E-mail
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Thursday, 06 February 2014 00:00

The Belize Natural Energy Charitable Trust signed a cooperation agreement on Monday of this week with the La Immaculada Credit Union at the Belize Natural Energy main office in Belmopan. With the signing of documents by the General Manager of the La Immaculada Credit Union, Yolanda Gomez, followed by other leaders of the Credit Union based in Orange Walk, a total of 1.5 Million dollars will be made available as part of a second round of funds to be released to students aspiring for higher education at secondary, junior college and even university levels in Belize. This brings to a total of 2.5 million dollars that the Belize Natural Energy Charitable Trust has invested in Credit Unions around the Country since the inception of a program that is preparing students and “unlocking potential.”

A release from the Belize Natural Energy Charitable Trust states that the further expansion of its National Student Loan Program is a partnership with local Credit Unions that started as a pilot initiative in April 2009 when the trust placed an initial investment of one million dollars. This pilot yielded loan facilities to over 600 Belizean students, pursuing secondary and tertiary education at local institutions throughout Belize.

Belizean students interested in furthering their education can now visit the La Immaculada Credit Union Branches, located at number 5 Park Street in Orange Walk and at the end of Forest Drive in Belmopan, where they will receive an information leaflet on the Student’s Loan Program. Students will be required to be a member of the Credit Union, have an acceptance letter from the educational institution they desire to attend, provide an estimated budget on the years of schooling and maintain a GPA Average of 2.5

“Our interest rate is one percent per month on the reducing balance, it is not a twelve percent flat rate on the reducing balance; with an average of between 6.5% to 7% per annum,” says Yolanda Gomez, adding that the The Belize Natural Energy Charitable Trust was wise to invest in Credit Unions.

Many were jubilant on Tuesday that funds are now being allocated to good causes.

“Today you are seeing the proceeds from the exports of oil money invested by the Board in the Credit Unions, for Education is an investment,” says Orlando Burns, who has served some six years as a Trustee within the Board of the Belize Natural Energy Charitable Trust.

Ismael Requena, also a member of the Board of Trustees of the Belize Natural Energy Charitable Trust and who represents the Government of Belize as a Trustee agrees.

‘This has been really a big impact…as an educator I believe that students now have the opportunity to go to school, so I call on the other Credit Unions to call on parents and students to check with their Credit Unions.”

Trustee Alberto August says that the impact on these trust funds will be far reaching.

“When we educate our population, we give them the opportunity for a gainful employment and acquire the things that they desire,” he said.

Chairman of the Board of Trustees Daniel Gutierez also described Monday’s events  as “…we look forward to building on the pilot program for hundreds of Belizeans from all walks who are now getting a chance at a better way of life, a chance for an education that without this Program might have been but a sad illusion.”