How was born the idea
U4all dates back to 2003. José Manuel Gago Onecha, the current president of the NGO, worked as a coordinating professor of two classes on a southern Chilean island. Students there completed high school brilliantly but could not continue their studies. In Chile, as in the rest of Latin American countries, financing does not exist for many students like these and only a minority receives scholarships to continue studying in college.
The development of the private university sector in Latin America has made it clear that there are not enough public universities to meet the demand of all the young people who opt for scholarships yearly in order to continue pursuing higher education. The offer to go to college is very limited as government funding (scholarships and financial aid) is minimum or non-existent. This makes it so that many young people find their hopes for completing their life long dream of a university education impeded. The power to attend college stems from economic factors, which serve as the limiting factor of educational equality in the region.
José Manuel returned to Spain in 2005 and combined his professional activity with the initiative of starting up a pioneer project that could help to make real the desire of thousands of young people to continue studying and obtain a university degree.
But it was not until September of 2008 when José Manuel moved to Madrid and began to participate in a social platform called Couch Surfing that he began to carry out his idea. This platform was where he first began to express his idea of creating an association that could help to finance the university studies of underprivileged young people in developing countries. The idea was welcomed by some of Couch Surfing’s members who then generously joined José Manuel in beginning to gain momentum for the project. The cultural diversity and the personal experience of its members, who supported the project from the beginning, created a multidisciplinary work team. In a couple of months this team would become University For All.
On April 30, 2009 University For All was born in Madrid. This was the celebrated day of the meeting of the constituent members after months of work and effort. Since then we have been working on making a university education available to people all over the world who lack economic resources beginning our work in the most underprivileged countries in Latin America. Nicaragua, Guatemala and Bolivia represent some of the countries where U4all will make the dreams of hundreds of young people come true who are looking for someone to give them the opportunity to continue studying.