Campaign to support Academia Menonita Betania in Puerto Rico raises $94,000

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Carlos Romero, executive director of Mennonite Education Agency, presents a check to Luis Velez, director of Academia Menonita Betania, together with MEC school administrators.


(Mennonite Church USA/Mennonite Education Agency/Mennonite Mission Network) — Mennonite Education Agency (MEA) and Mennonite Mission Network have nearly reached their $100,000 fundraising goal to aid in Academia Menonita Betania’s recovery from hurricane Maria.

At the recent Mennonite Educators Conference (MEC) on Feb. 1-3, 2018, Carlos Romero, executive director of MEA, presented a check for $94,000 raised through the campaign to Luis Velez, director of Academia Menonita Betania.

The MEA school in Aibonito, Puerto Rico suffered damages when hurricane Maria hit the island on September 20, 2017. The school reopened to students on October 23, 2017 with no water, electricity or communication.

“Our hearts were broken to see the destruction. The hard work of parents and volunteers over the years was taken away,” said Velez. “The moment allowed the perfect opportunity to realize how splendid God is.”

Velez reported that more than 40% of the island still has no power after two hurricanes, and he described the ongoing economic challenges for parents in Puerto Rico who have lost their jobs and the ability to pay for their children’s education. He shared the school’s financial needs to subsidize student education, as well as rebuild and replace lost equipment.

Five staff members attended MEC from Academia Menonita Betania (left to right): Luis Velez, Amarilis Ortiz, Jose Casillas, Karen Jimenez Rolon, Alex Gonzalez.

“We can reconstruct and do everything new in our building, but if we don’t have students, we can’t do anything,” Velez said. “Thank you to all of you for the support and for sending us letters.”

A group of five staff from Betania attended MEC. Many Mennonite Schools Council schools held fundraisers for this campaign, and MEC students sent letters to the students at Betania.

If you wish to join Mennonite Mission Network and Mennonite Education Agency in supporting the reconstruction efforts at Academia Menonita Betania, please click “Give to Academia Menonita Betania,” or send a check payable to MEA at 3145 Benham Ave., Suite 2, Elkhart, Indiana 46517 with “Betania” in the memo line.