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Education moments: A 'bold initiative'

In the April 2001 general conference priesthood session, President Gordon B. Hinckley announced the formation of the Perpetual Education Fund, a "bold initiative" to help youth in developing areas "rise out of the poverty they and generations before them have known."

The Perpetual Education Fund provides resources to individuals to further their employment and education and is similar in concept to the Perpetual Emigration Fund established by the Church in the mid-1800s as a way to fund early Church members' journeys to the Salt Lake Valley. The program is funded through contributions of Church members and others who support its mission and is a revolving resource in which money is loaned to individuals to help pay for training or education. Once they have graduated and are working, the money is repaid by the beneficiaries to provide more loans for others.

Many Church members have been able to seek better employment through this program. One example is from Nathaniel Zarzoso Reyes, from the Pamplona Ward, Parañaque Philippines Stake:

"Several of the blessings I enjoy in my life I gained through the PEF program.

"I remember when I was applying for this program, my priesthood leaders asked me, 'What does the prophet want you to learn?' I answered, 'Self-reliance, discipline, independence and budgeting.'

"The PEF program gave me hope. I followed the guidelines for applying for a PEF loan and looked for the school with the lowest tuition fee. The process taught me to be wise in my decisions, financially and spiritually. Eventually my loan was approved. However, a year after I graduated, I still didn't have a job. I wondered how I would repay my PEF loan. I continued to trust that God would lead me to a job.

"As I helped my younger sibling get enrolled in high school, a school administrator asked me if I was interested in teaching a computer class. Now I am teaching multimedia arts in high school. I can now keep my commitments to repay my PEF loan. I'm grateful to the PEF program and for the Savior's love." — Marianne Holman

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