Galp supports 40 EPIS scholarships to promote social inclusion and equal opportunities

The 13th edition of the EPIS Social Scholarships was the biggest ever. With more than 1,000 applications, twice as many as last year, 208 scholarships were awarded, 40 of them by the Galp Foundation, which guarantee access to education, promote equal opportunities and fight social disparities

Young people across the country have the chance to make their dreams come true thanks to the scholarship programme promoted by the Entrepreneurs for Social Inclusion Association (EPIS). For the 2023/2024 academic year, the programme, which had 49 partners, including companies and anonymous donors, awarded 208 grants, worth a total of 454,800 euros, and targeted secondary and higher education students and young people with disabilities who were going to attend work placements.

The impact of this initiative on the lives of these young people is life-changing, as it allows them to continue their studies and achieve their goals, regardless of their social or economic status.

This is the case of Bebiana Vital, 24. She's in her second year of a master's programme in Social Intervention in Children and Young People at Risk of Social Exclusion and aspires to be able to help other children and young people build a promising future. Supported by the Galp Foundation in the last academic year, the young woman from Matosinhos says that without this scholarship she would hardly have been able to get to where she wants to be: "In my city, this master's programme only exists at a private university, so the tuition fees are very high. Without this significant financial support, I wouldn't be able to invest in additional training to enrich my CV, for example."

Diogo Sousa, executive director of the Galp Foundation, and Maria João Carioca, CFO and executive director of Galp, on stage with students supported by the Galp Foundation

This year, the Galp Foundation was the largest social investor in EPIS, which it has been a part of since 2014. Among the 208 scholarships awarded, 40 are of its responsibility, 30 of which are for bachelor's degrees and 10 for master's degrees, totalling around 100,000 euros.

"It's our partners who have enabled us to consolidate this programme and make it grow over the years. We believe it will continue to have growth potential in the coming years," said Diogo Simões Pereira, EPIS general director, at the opening of the event to award the scholarships, which took place in the auditorium of Caixa Geral de Depósitos' headquarters in Lisbon at the beginning of December.

Diogo Simões Pereira highlighted the role of the partners in the scholarship programme promoted by EPIS

An event that, for Leonor Beleza, president of EPIS, also serves to promote what the association does and the results that come from it: "Understanding what we are and what we are for is fundamental to being able to do what we do, but above all because the results of EPIS' actions are, in our view, and that's why the association exists, important for the success, not only of the individual students, but also for the country. It is these individual successes that certainly make an excellent contribution to the collective construction of what we are."

Education as a social lift and guarantor of a more prosperous and just society

Based on one of the Sustainable Development Goals, specifically SDG4, Quality Education is one of the pillars of the Galp Foundation and therefore one of the company's priorities, especially in the communities where it operates. This is the case in the municipalities of Alcoutim, Matosinhos, Odemira, Ourique, Santiago do Cacém, Setúbal and Sines. "Our bachelor's and master's scholarships are mainly aimed at young people from these seven municipalities. It's important to look at them and realise the enormous potential that lies there. At Galp we create energy and there's no better way to create energy than this," says Maria João Carioca, Galp's CFO and executive director, who recognises the structural role of education. On an individual level, it promotes access to knowledge as a social lift, contributing to the creation of equal opportunities and to social and economic development, while on a collective level it helps to create a more prosperous, dignified and fair society for all. "We believe that education is one of the main forms of inclusion, of creating the future, of expressing democracy and of expressing equality and equal opportunities in particular," she adds.

Maria João Carioca: "We are very proud of and confident in the brilliant students we support. Confidence in what they have already done; pride in what they will be able to do”

In fact, supporting these communities has contributed to the democratisation of access to education and equal opportunities, bringing to university benches those who for some reason (economic, social or even physical) had remained on the margins; to the fight against school failure and dropout, relieving the economic pressure on families; and to the advancement of qualifications, a critical battle for the country when we know that 39.7% of the adult population has completed at most basic education.


Projects here and across borders

In addition to supporting EPIS social grants, the Galp Foundation is also investing in other educational projects, such as school construction, energy access to school infrastructures, upskilling and reskilling programmes in the technological area, doctoral grants also in technological areas and more specifically in energy. The main aim is to ensure access to education and meet the needs of people in Galp communities to update their skills and integrate into the labour market. "We have educational programmes in all the countries where we operate - from Brazil to Mozambique - and every year 160 Galp volunteers get involved in educational projects, 10 of whom provide weekly school support and mentoring to EPIS students," says Maria João Carioca.

In 2022 alone, the initiatives impacted more than 232,000 beneficiaries, with an investment of around 17.3 million euros, a figure that represents 50% of the total investment in projects in the community and which in 2023 is expected to reach 20 million euros.