Project information

Student Study Centre in Salta, Argentina

Indigenous students in Salta wishing to attend university are disadvantaged as they have nowhere to study outside school hours. Many, in large families live, cook and sleep in one room. The centre provides study space, computer & internet access, additional lessons in core subjects & study skills

February 2011 - December 2016

Charity information: The David Mather Foundation

The David Mather Foundation logo
  • Need


    Argentinian poverty fell since 2001, but in the north (20%population) more than 60% live in poverty ( national average 44%) Schooling is compulsory for 10 yrs achieving 97%literacy rate, but only 1-15% of indigenous descendants attend university and less than 15% of those graduate. This inequality in education is affected by poor vocational guidance, lack of study facilities, socio-economic problems requiring young people to work and low aspiration.
    The recruited students become inspirations


    The Fundacion ( FDM) works with 2 schools in the most disadvantaged areas, identifying young people with the the potential for further education, encouraging and supporting them to attain university entrance criteria and apply for scholarships. FDM provides mentoring, university links, additional academic support as required and career advice from age 16 through university. Family members are helped to access educational support improving their situation & raising aspiration of their community

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    Create an inspiring safe learning environment for students and their families.


    » An easily accessible environment conducive to individual study available throughout university career
    » Access to resources for learning, including paper, pens, internet
    » Computer access and training through dedicated computer suite.
    » University mentors ( current 3rd & 4th year university students) break down barriers to university & encourage good academic habits. Meet bi-weekly.

    Success will be 10 ( of 12) students per year commencing university programmes. Full success will be 85% of students completing their education & commencing professional careers

    Aim 2

    Provide additional support and learning


    » Preparation for higher level courses with additional classes in maths, English and study skills plus adhoc short courses in eg science as required.
    » Provide careers guidance including Discovery Insights psychometric analysis to facilitate appropriate choice of study pathways
    » Where appropriate to organise work experience to help students make good career choices
    » Skype contact with English school students to improve understanding of language and different cultures. We also plan to link some German schools.

    Success will be a minimum of 10 students per year achieving required entrance criteria to pursue studies of choice.

    Aim 3

    Seek scholarships and additional financial support


    » Advise of scholarship opportunities and support individual applications
    » Work with Ministry of Education to improve access to "Becas" ( scholarships in Salta) for students who are most socio-economically disadvantaged
    » Work with local employers and industry to establish work experience and sponsorship opportunities.

    Success will be each student requiring economic support accessing substantive financial help.

    Aim 4

    Raise aspiration and achievement


    » Build confidence through self awareness classes
    » Provide career and study counselling to ensure potential is utilised
    » Work with students and their families to overcome disincentives and short term problems which may limit ability to maintain studies.
    » Enable the 2 identified schools to utilise the established links with universities, tutors and students to improve whole school access to universities

    Success will be a measurable increase in the numbers of young people from each linked barrio accessing further education, and the number of families taken out of poverty.

    Aim 5

    Create a business enterprise to subsidise students.


    » Make and sell handicrafts predominantly utilising recycled materials
    » introduce and implement marketing skills, design and fabrication processes
    » Keep accounts, and learn supply, demand and ordering processes
    » Understand and develop customer service skills

    Success will be delivering a measurable profit on investment and sales to reinvest in student services.

  • Impact


    The Foundation intends to undertake research with the Universidad National de Salta to assess the impact of the study centre including:
    - base line academic and development data
    - tracking of individual student progress
    - ability of students to cope with study demands & academic life
    - graduation rates and level of achievement
    - employability
    - student and family aspiration, before during and after access to programme
    - previous community access to & attendance at university


    1. Student disengagement:
    -Thorough recruitment processes reduce drop out rates
    -Widening the group of students eligible to use the facility increases peer support
    2. Reduced funding and or inflation:
    - Every effort is being made to link the programme with existing systems to ensure it is sustainable.
    - The Ministry of Education have been asked to support the enterprise.
    - The business enterprise scheme


    The David Mather Foundation produces quarterly newsletters and an email cascade to all donors.
    Study Centre donors will receive regular reports on progress and have access to accounts which will be held on line. They can also elect to be consulted on issues specific to the Study Centre if required

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £125,100

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      Amount Heading Description
      £6,600 Capital expenditure Building preparation, safety, security, hardware
      £33,500 Revenue per year Rent, maintenance, services eg telephone, stationary etc
      £60,000 Staffing Centre manager and co-ordinator
      £25,000 Activities Sessional tutors, student , student support

    Current Funding / Pledges

    Source Amount
    David Mather Foundation £8,000 Guaranteed
    Ian and Ceri Mather £2,000 Guaranteed
  • Background


    Salta is the largest city in Northern Argentina with a population of 660000. Tourist Salta appears wealthy but the young people in our project live in shanty town conditions on the edge of the city. Homes are frequently one room, constructed of breeze blocks, polythene & corrugated iron, sanitary facilities are poor. poverty is endemic with associated high rates of drug & alcohol misuse, teenage pregnancy and short life expectancy. There is no culture of seeking professional careers.


    Directly: Young people who have been identified as having the academic potential to reach university but face socio-economic obstacles
    The schools in the project are automatically linked to the family of English schools, benefiting all students
    The community as DMF students are required to utilise new skills to benefit of their community.
    The level of aspiration within the community is raised, we already have evidence of this

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    The David Mather Foundation is dedicated to achieving its distinct aims. The links with British Schools provide a unique international perspective which benefit all participants. The project is based on the Aim Higher project in the UK and is being delivered with the full knowledge and support of the Provincial Education Ministry, increasing sustainability. We have had consistent funding over 2 years from inception to deliver service achieved but need further support to maintain the centre.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Ian Mather

    UK President, volunteer Retired school principal, experience working with disadvantaged young people establishing educational and work opportunities


Will support a school student for a full year

This is answering a real need in these communities

Minister for Education