Scholarships Benefit Communities Surrounding El Abra Operations

Francisco Carvajal, an obstetrics nurse, completed his studies thanks to a scholarship from El Abra.

January 28, 2022 - What do an obstetrics nurse, a metallurgical engineer and a contract supervisor have in common?

Their careers, along with nearly 500 other students over the years, were made possible with the help of El Abra’s Indigenous Scholarship Program, which helps students from nearby villages attend a university or technical school. Scholarships are worth $2,200 per student per year and are renewable annually. The money may be used for tuition, computers and supplies.

“Without this support, it would have been very difficult to finish my degree and become a professional,” said Francisco Carvajal, a 26-year-old obstetrics nurse in the Carlos Cisternas Hospital of Calama near El Abra operations in Chile. “The scholarship helped me dedicate myself to my studies and pursue a career that makes a difference.”

The program encourages students from the surrounding villages to give back to their communities as they build successful professional careers. Most would be unable to further their educations without a scholarship – and several scholarship recipients now work for the company.

“The support of El Abra allows us to study and achieve our dreams and goals,” said Gino Berna, a 24-year-old metallurgical engineer who now works as a master mechanic at El Abra. “It is a unique and incredible opportunity for us and for future generations of indigenous students.”

Anahí Quispe received the indigenous scholarship between 2012 and 2015 to finance her studies in risk prevention engineering and environmental protection. Today, she is a Contract Supervisor in El Abra’s Global Supply Chain department.

“This scholarship not only helps economically but also allows us as students to be better and motivates us to build excellent careers in our community,” she said.

El Abra launched the Indigenous Scholarship program in 2004. Recipients are selected by a committee that includes government authorities, community leaders and scholars.

“We are happy to have played a part in building successful careers for community members by providing scholarships, and we are proud of their accomplishments,” said Rubén Funes, President-El Abra.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo (middle) speaks at the groundbreaking of PTFI’s smelter site in October.

Photos (left to right): Francisco Carvajal, an obstetrics nurse, completed his studies thanks to a scholarship from El Abra; Anahí Quispe, Contract-Supervisor, is a former scholarship recipient who has built her career at El Abra.