Ilima-Lei "The Ilimanator" Macfarlane Scholarship:
provides young females a fighting chance to succeed.
Bellator MMA World Flyweight Champion Fighter, Scholar and Youth Mentor leads a philanthropic campaign providing scholarships to young ladies ages 13-19 years old.
A 2014 graduate from San Diego State University in Cultural Anthropology, Ilima-Lei ran the Pacific Islander Student Association and went on to earn her Masters Degree in Liberal Arts and Sciences, focusing on Indigenous issues. Originally from the island of O’ahu, this Native-Hawaiian had always dreamed of becoming an educator and coach. However, her life took a slight detour.
She was waiting tables at a restaurant and became overweight, victim to the “party girl” life-style. One day while walking to work, as fate would have it, she entered her local gym because she wanted to lose weight and had spare time after finishing college. Never in a million years did she think fighting would turn out to be her full-time profession. Ilima began a successful career as a professional MMA fighter under the mentorship of San Diego’s 10th Planet Gym. Now 8-0 and Bellator Flyweight World Champion, Ilima continues to bring awareness to indigenous issues with hope and determination.
Since 2015, Ilima has guest mentored for InterTribal Youth, Native Like Water (NLW), during the flagship San Diego Summer Residential Academy. In 2017, Ilima joined NLW's Panama International Delegation and Cultural Exchange. The program is a sharing of indigenous botanic medicine, education and Panama's sovereign island lifestyles. Ilima shared Hawaiian culture with various rural tribal communities and was featured during Panama’s Indigenous International “Dule Festival”. Many indigenous youth have limited access to the world, thus it was extra special when a piece of the world, aloha, came to them. In its inaugural year, the 2018 Scholarship Campaign raised nearly $10,000, providing 5 scholarships to underserved young ladies. In addition, Ilima provided various teaching clinics to Native youth locally and nationally. Ilima looks to provide even more for 2019. Join Ilima in providing a fighting chance to young girls.
Why Ilima-Lei initiated scholarships for High School and Middle School Girls: Prior to winning her first title fight, Ilima promised she would use her platform to bring awareness to indigenous issues and assist young ladies by providing education and travel opportunities. Safety and well-being of indigenous adolescent girls is threatened more than any group in society. Statistics show that Native girls in Hawaii and the Americas are increased targets of abuse, reported missing, murdered, and increasing victims of sex-trafficking. This is in addition to a myriad of ills faced due to generational trauma, health disparities, high school drop out rates, substance abuse, and lack of healthy living environments. Survival is real.
Ilima’s message is that "a strong woman will achieve her goals with or without someone by her side", however, Ilima knows mentorship and life-changing experiences provide young ladies a fighting chance to beat the odds so many are faced with.
Funds raised for Ilimanator Scholarship are used to provide Native American and Native Hawaiian adolescent female youth (ages 12-19) with an opportunity to access world-class indigenous education enrichment programs. Outdoor science, culture, wellness, and leadership enrichment is provided by InterTribal Youth, NativeLikeWater.org and extended ohana, family, network of educators, mentors, and cultural leaders.
Programs offer both domestic and international opportunities. Most native girls rarely leave the island or the Indian Reservation. However, during InterTribal Youth's 17-year existence, over 80% of the youth participants are female and demonstrate the courage to leave home and take a healthy risk. This testament is in alignment with indigenous prophecy which clearly states that we are now entering an era where feminine leadership will be the human family’s saving grace. As Aina (earth) warriors, it is this female strength, energy that must be at the forefront.
Prolific observations of North American tribes, point out that like the migrating snow geese, "it is a time where woman lead and men follow in front."
Together with InterTribal Youth, Ilima contributes to making a change and help be an "Ilimanator" of disparities facing young females. We are humbly asking you to join us by matching or contributing to our efforts and help provide girls a fighting chance to succeed.
The Ilimanator Scholarship 2019 Guidelines: Student Applications Due May 1st or until filled.
Recipient will need to meet at least 4 of following criteria:
1. Female Youth ages 12-18; International Program applicants ages 16-20
2. Do not have support from Reservations, Rancherias or Agencies
3. May or may not be from a state or gov't recognized nation/tribe
4. adopted and/or separated from their culture
5. Native Hawaiians, Tribal Descendants, or lineage or who are not on "roles" and do not receive recognition due to blood-quantum for whatever reason
6. Youth who live in urban areas, dis-connected cultural ways and/or funding support resources. This may include, but not limited to Urban Youth, Native Hawaiians, Xicano/a, South American Indigenous or Caribbean Youth.
7. Inaugural 2018 Scholarship Youth were chosen from the following Geographical Areas (subject to additions): Kingdom of Hawaii, California, Nevada and Panama.
Requirements to be Submitted by candidate:
1. InterTribal Youth / Native Like Water Registration form,
2. One letter of recommendation from teacher, parent, leader or relative.
3. Writing Sample or Oral Story Video Sample. Sample will not be judged for grammar or punctuation use, but praised for content and originality.
Candidates Submit ONLY 1 of the following:
· 200 Word Essay on topic of your choice OR
· One Page, Original Poem or Lyrics to a Song OR
· A 1-2 Minute Video Selfie, demonstrating who you are, your interests, challenges
To Receive a Scholarship Application. Use the Contact button here
2019 Inaugural Scholarship Recipient will be chosen by Ilima-Lei “The Ilimanator” Lei-Macfarlane and InterTribal Youth Ilimanator Scholarship Selection Committee.
Scholarship Recipients and program participation updates will be posted across “The Ilimanator” and Native Like Water social media platforms, including instagram, facebook, and youtube. Also, Please see videos on this page.