We are thrilled to report a major development at The Mariposa Center for Girls. Just last month, SunEdison (NYSE: SUNE), a leading provider of solar energy solutions and services donated an entire 9.9kW solar energy system to power our center! Thanks to you and our project partners at Soluz and SolarWave, who provided additional support on this project, The Mariposa Center for Girls is now one of the largest educational facilities in the Dominican Republic that is completely powered by renewable energy. This milestone comes at an extremely significant time as the United Nations has declared 2014 as the first year of the "Decade of Sustainable Energy for All" which has a special focus on the links between energy, women and health. Because of your support, we are able to invest additional resources in education and training for our girls and local community members, putting us at the forefront of this important global clean energy movement.
Richard Hansen, CEO and Founder of Soluz, Mariposa Advisory Board member and pioneer in bringing solar energy to the Dominican Republic is committed to connecting organizations to provide energy access to underserved communities: "Matching SunEdison to help the Mariposa Center for Girls was a natural fit. "Having access to reliable and sustainable electricity will improve theier quality of life. The Center and the girls will benefit from this program for years to come".
The new solar energy system at the center ensures that we can keep our main office, computer lab, sewing machines, pool and other resources that require electricity running consistently. The new system also greatly reduces our energy costs and promotes Mariposa as a shining example of environmental sustainability. On April 22nd we had a special Earth Day celebration at The Mariposa Center for Girls where representatives from Soluz and SolarWave gave a presentation to the girls, incorporating various environmental topics including organic gardening, tree planting, clean energy and recycling. In 2014 we will continue to build and strengthen our environmental education programs, helping girls make the connections between economic prosperity, benefits to the community, environmental health and their own well being.
None of this would be possible without the generosity of people like you and we thank you for your continued support. We look forward to sending you more exciting news as we gear up for summer!
The girls, families, volunteers and staff at The Mariposa DR Foundation
The Inauguration Gala for the Mariposa Center for Girls was a huge success! Final preparations were completed, performances were learned, and the center was transformed in preparation for this amazing event. All our Mariposa girls, young and old, played a role in this special event. Some put on incredible musical, dance and circus arts performances, others trained as waitresses (which can also help them to find jobs now that the event is over!), and a group of girls our youngest girls practiced their English for the gala so they could say the blessing.
Jose-Luis Lopez, who plays Graffiti Pete from the Tony Award Winning musical In the Heights, worked six days a week for an entire month with a group of Mariposas, teaching them the choreography to perform a selection from the musical during the gala. We are unbelievably proud to say that all 23 girls who auditioned were able to dance in the performance. Additionally, many these girls were part of our original Mariposa group that was created four years ago! It was so special to have them take part in the event and show off how far they've come. Fourteen year old Mariposa Girl, Aritza, who has been in our program with her three sisters since the beginning, cried tears of joy and proclaimed that she would remember this special evening for the rest of her life. The best part of the whole evening was hearing the Mariposa girls shriek with excitement as they exited the stage from an amazing performance.
The stars of the evening were undeniably the Mariposas, but we had some incredible guests attend as well. There were preformances by the Tony Award winning Lin-Manuel Miranda and the sweet music of Ensemble Meme. Special guests included international bestselling author Julia Alvarez, Girl Rising producer (and our event MC) Holly Gordon, and members of the famed Mirabal family.
With all of these incredible happenings, we wanted to recognize that none of this would have been possible without your support over the past few years. It's hard to believe that less than two years ago, Mariposa programming was taking place in a small apartment. The Mariposa Center for Girls is officially open and we are honored to be serving more than 100 girls and their families. We look forward to keeping you updated on all of the amazing progress we have been able to make at the Center thanks to your generosity.
With love and our deepest gratitude for your continued support,
The staff, volunteers, and children of the Mariposa DR Foundation
We are so excited to share news of our latest collaborative effort – a permaculture garden! In our last update, we shared news about the successful fundraising campaign we ran to renovate and open our swimming pool in time for summer camp. Not only were our swim lessons fantastic, but they were truly lifesaving as well.
During the summer, one of our wonderful long-term volunteers partnered with Taino Organic Farms to institute an Eco studies program. The idea in mind was to create a permaculture garden. Gardening has served as an experiential learning tool as our girls themselves are planting, harvesting and maintaining the seeds. The hands-on experience that our girls get through permaculture gardening allows them to better understand where food comes from, the benefits of organic gardening, and the processes of gardening and farming.
A large part of this project is our “seed library.” Through this library, our girls will harvest and maintain both seeds and seedlings. They can then bring their skills and knowledge back to their families, thus creating true garden-to-table food options for themselves and their families.
An example of garden-to-table success has been our use of the Moringa tree. This tree, which is native to the Dominican Republic, is hardly used in any capacity. However, it has gained newfound fame as a super food! This is great news for our girls, as they have learned how to utilize the Moringa tree leaves to make delicious, healthy Moringa-lime juice.
Moringa juice is just one example! Our vision for the future is that our garden and our budding gardeners will provide healthy, fresh food to all of our Mariposa girls and their families. We are creating our own edible schoolyard here at Mariposa!
We are so pleased to continue to share our work with you, knowing that your support and interest are paramount to our continued success!
Our 4th annual Girls Summer Leadership Program has just ended and we had an amazing few weeks. Our first summer on our very own land! In our last update in May, we were raising funds to get our pool open for swimming lessons in time for the summer. Well, we have great news! We were able to fund the project and our pool opened in time for camp!
This summer all the Mariposa girls were able to have swimming lessons and enjoy their very own pool every day. Swimming is an important life skill that builds confidence. Our community is a beach town where learning to swim is critical to ensuring that every child is safe.
We'd like to tell you an amazing story about 15 year old Carola. Carola was one of the original 15 Mariposa girls when we began the group almost four years ago. When we first started our swimming program, Carola was terrified of the water. Over the past three years, thanks to donor support and hours of volunteer dedication, she has conquered her fear and become a great swimmer.
On the first day of camp this year, Carola passed out from post-traumatic stress. The stress was brought on because she was worried about her younger sister who had almost drowned the day before at a local hotel pool, and had to be rushed to the hospital. It was 15 year old Carola who saw her sister sinking to the bottom, pulled her out and saved her life, using the skills she learned from the Mariposa swimming program. You'll be happy to know that Carola's sister is okay and was able to join our program this summer and begin learning to swim.
The next few weeks we will be focused on getting our center ready for fall. We're hoping to finish the electrical wiring and windows and doors. It will be our first full academic year in our very own space and we have so many exciting things planned. None of this would be possible without you and we thank you again for your support.
More updates soon!
Things are moving along at The Mariposa Center for Girls. Since our last update we have completed the project of replacing our entire 900 square meter roof! It was a huge undertaking and the whole project took over two months and cost $25,000! Because of your generosity we were able to put a safe and beautiful roof on our new home.
Over the past few months the center has been filled with volunteers and service learning groups to help clean, paint, garden and transform our home into a beautiful sanctuary for the girls in our community. Our next project is getting our very own pool ready just in time for summer.
Swimming lessons are an essential part of our programs at The Mariposa DR Foundation. We live in a beachside town and giving girls the ability to swim builds confidence and enables them to participate in the many activities that make the Cabarete community unique. We firmly believe that for the girls of Cabarete, learning to swim is not a privilege; it is their right. Learning to swim will enable them to feel more like a part of their community, participate in water sports, and feel empowered to work for change.
The goal is to have our pool cleaned, painted and ready for swimming lessons to begin on June 24th. To help us reach our goal, advisory board member Nell Newman of Newman's Own Organics has donated a $25,000 matching challenge grant. This means that all donations for the next 60 days to The Mariposa Center for Girls will be matched by the Nell Newman Foundation at 100% up to $25,000!
We want to extend a heartfelt thank you to all of you for your support. This amazing transformation is only happening because of you. We look forward to keeping you updated and hope that you will come and visit us in our new home!
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