The young women in Peruvian Promise have grown and and become even more empowered over the past several months. In February and March the scholars in Peruvian Promise participated in the second annual leadership institute in Urubamba at La Quinta Eco Hotel. The event was hosted by the Visionaria Network and funded by Rotary International. After completing the intensive 10-day leadership portion of institute, the girls collaborated ion six-week service projects in small groups within their own communities. The different group projects included the distribution of clean water filters, the construction and installation of clean cook stoves, and the creation and presentation of a leadership class for local highschoolers. Meaningful leadership experiences such as these are invaluable to the growth and development of the girls’ sense of empowerment. It was wonderful to see how much the girls enjoyed working on their service projects together.
At the beginning of March, 17 of the young ladies in Peruvian Promise began studying English on a daily basis. Each day a private teacher, Roxana, offers two 1-hour sessions at the Peruvian Promise apartment in Cusco. The small-group classes, which are taught once in the morning and once in the evening, foster a comfortable learning environment that allows the girls to learn with excitement and speak with confidence. The opportunity to learn English will give these young women a useful lifelong skill that will empower them and ultimately help open the doors to new carreer opportunities.
April marked the beginning of a new school year for many of our university scholars. We are excited that two of our university scholars, Flor Nelida and Flor Katherine, will graduate in December at the end of this school year. Each girl in Peruvian Promise continues to study hard and remains focused on her dreams for the future. It is inspiring to watch these young girls blossom and aspire to achieve their dreams.
These girls have the opportunities to dream because of our generous supporters. Thank you for your thoughtful support. Without it, these young women would not be who or where they are today. Because of you, and many others just like you, these women are breaking the cycle of intergenerational poverty. They are becoming the well-respected and empowered leaders of tomorrow and they will continue to transform their lives day by day to achieve their dreams -- and YOU have been a big part of it -- thank you.
On January 11, 2014, the young women in Peruvian Promise hosted the first annual Peruvian Hearts Women’s Conference in Urubamba, Peru and it was a huge success! Over 120 people attended the conference and the attendees were a wide and varied array of individuals, including female students from local high schools, colleges, and universities, as well as mentors, teachers, and Rotarians. Five accomplished and well-respected speakers spoke to an intrigued group of participants about important topics such as: women’s rights, leadership, self-esteem, and sexual health. The young women in Peruvian Promise took complete ownership of this important event and helped to facilitate it in every aspect. The conference was extremely well received by the participants and each person took the time to thank the Peruvian Promise hosts as well as the Peruvian Hearts staff as they exited the seminar. Many of the attendees asked when the next conference would be.
The success of this conference speaks great volumes about the young women in Peruvian Promise. Not more than just a couple of years ago, these young ladies would not have had the confidence, knowledge, or fortitude to host a meaningful type of event such as this. Fortunately, after working with these young scholars for the last two and a half years, not only were they able to successfully create, plan, and execute this inspirational event, but they did so with extreme ease, confidence, and dignity. Each one of these young women played a vital role in the creation and execution of the conference, and as a result, they all felt empowered because of that. It was wonderful to witness this firsthand.
In other exciting news, Peruvian Promise gladly accepted 4 more brilliant young women into the program. Rosa, Epifañia, Kati and Hortensia officially joined the Peruvian Promise on January 15, 2014. Rosa, 19, is studying chemical engineering at the highly competitive National University in Cusco, and Hortensia, 20, was recently accepted into the same National University to study mathematics. Epifañia, 26, is studying accounting at Universidad Austral Peruana, and Kati, 17, is studying Culinary Arts at Instituto Tuinen Star. All four of these young women are exceptionally motivated with their studies, and come from extremely impoverished families. We are so fortunate to have four more extraordinarily inspirational young women join Peruvian Promise. We know that they will be excellent role models for the other girls in the program and will be wonderful mentors to the younger girls in the program.
Thank you, for your ongoing support. Without it, these young women would not be who or where they are today. Because of you, and many others just like you, these women are breaking the cycle of poverty, not only for their families, but also for their future families for generations to come. These young women are becoming the well-respected and empowered leaders of tomorrow in Peru. They are changing not only the future of their families, but their communities, their country, and ultimately the rest of the world, as well.
For many of the Peruvian Promise scholars, the 2013 school year is starting to wind down, as the second semester will officially end in late December. Several of our young scholars are about to finish their second year at university and others are about to complete their first year. These driven young women continue to mature and flourish as individuals, and they have also grown closer as a group and formed an incredible support network for each other. There is, however, a group of young women in Peruvian Promise for whom the school year is just getting underway!
In recent months, five more Peruvian Promise scholars took their post-secondary school entrance exams and were accepted into various colleges and universities around Cusco! The exciting acceptance of these five inspirational young women into college increases the total number of Peruvian Promise girls studying at the university level to twelve! All five of these young women spent countless hours over the course of several months studying for their college entrance exams, and their hard work finally paid off.
Alexandra and Lucero were accepted to Khipu to study accounting, where several other Peruvian Promise girls are already enrolled in other careers. Vanessa was accepted to Universidad Alas Peruanas to study tourism, and joins Yola and Ana Yanet, who are about to finish their second year studying tourism at Alas Peruanas. Yenivel was accepted into Universidad Andina to study administration and tourism, which is similar to hotel management. Elizabeth was accepted into a very competitive technical nursing program, where she will study to become a nurse technician. All five of these young women have started their classes and are incredibly enthusiastic and more motivated than ever to accomplish their goals of finishing university and becoming professionals.
Each girl in Peruvian Promise is the first member of her family to attend any sort of post-secondary school, and understands the importance of her education. All of these young women are determined to use their education to break the cycle of poverty and ensure a brighter future for themselves and their families. At the end of this year, several more girls in Peruvian Promise will graduate from secondary school and begin to prepare for their college entrance exams in 2014. We are excited for these upcoming secondary-school graduates to follow in the footsteps of the girls that have gone before them, and pursue their dreams as they continue their education.
Since the beginning of Peruvian Promise the participating girls have grown and matured in significant ways. These young women have had many obstacles to overcome because of their upbringings in extreme poverty. Now, more that two years since Peruvian Promise began, we have been able to see first-hand the remarkable transformations in their self-esteem and character. Unlike several years ago, each girl now holds herself with dignity and respect and truly believes that she will be able to break her cycle of poverty and create a better life for her family. All of these determined young scholars in Peruvian Promise continue to work extremely hard in their studies and towards their goals of graduating from university and becoming professionals and eventually return to help their families and communities as leaders and genuine agents of change. The first class of girls in Peruvian Promise has now completed three semesters of university and will begin their fourth semester next week.
On August 4, the annual Peruvian Promise initiation ceremony was held in Urubamba, Cusco, where five young women were inducted into the program. We are excited to welcome these newest participants of Peruvian Promise into the program and know that they have the potential to accomplish great things in their life. Three of these five incredibly inspiring young women (Roxana, Vania, and Elba Luz) still attend secondary school, Yenibel has been enrolled in a university preparation course to prepare for her university entrance exam, which she will take later this month, and Elizabeth will begin her studies at university in September to become a nurse with a specialization in medical technology.
During the initiation ceremony, all of the girls and parents expressed their deep and profound gratitude for the opportunity to be part of Peruvian Promise. One by one, each participant presented herself and her parent who attended the ceremony. While the group voiced their appreciation and thanks, one mother in particular said that she is thankful to have her daughter in Peruvian Promise because now she knows that her daughter will receive a complete education, become a professional and have a better life than she did. It was so meaningful to meet the parents of these young women and to hear how deep an impact Peruvian Promise has already had on each girl and her entire family. It is obvious that these young women are the pride and joy of their parents and have become role models for the rest of their siblings. We are so proud to support these extraordinary young women and excited to watch them continue to transform their own lives and the lives of their families and communities.
The school year in Peru is now well underway having started in March and most of the girls in Peruvian Promise have started their classes. There are currently five young women beginning their second year of college, three girls who just started their first year of their post-secondary education, and five other girls who are studying for their university entrance exam, which they will take in August. Maribel, one of the girls who graduated from secondary school last December, was recently accepted into the very competitive national university in Cusco to study accounting. We are incredibly proud of how hard Maribel has worked and want to wish her and all of the other girls a wonderful school year.
For the first two weeks of March, 15 of the girls in Peruvian Promise participated in the first annual Peruvian Promise in Action Leadership Institute. The institute was comprised of an intensive two-week leadership course taught by local female university professors followed by a six-week activism track in which three groups of girls created and implemented community service projects. The two-week curriculum examined important themes around leadership, culture, and self-awareness and the girls also read specific case studies about local health issues and the positive effects of clean water and clean cook stoves.
The girls were incredibly involved during the entire institute and were incredibly thankful for the opportunity to attend the institute. They found the topics and discussions to be very interesting and informative and mentioned that they had never before studied or learned anything like it in school. After the two-weeks of courses were over, the girls brainstormed and presented their ideas for community service projects and spent the next six weeks implementing these projects in indigenous communities with the help of a local female mentor. The three groups of girls visited different local communities and did research and assessments as to the best way to implement their projects. The girls really took the lead on their service projects and showed great leadership as they brought dozens of clean water filters to a very needy families, built 18 clean cook stoves, and hosted a presentation on leadership to a large group of primary school students in Cusco. The girls will continue to work with one of the professors from the institute on a regular basis to reinforce the important issues and topics discussed and to help the girls retain what they learned. This institute proved to be incredibly beneficial to the girls and will now be held annually during the girls’ summer vacation.
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