This week marks the three-year anniversary of our signature empowerment program, Peruvian Promise. We are thrilled with the results thus far and so thankful to all of our amazing supporters who have truly helped to make this program such a great success. We are excited to grow the program and offer this life-changing opportunity to even more deserving young women in Peru. We plan to double the size of the program in the next three years! We are sincerely humbled by the generosity of each and every supporter who has given to this worthy cause. From the bottom of our hearts and on behalf of the girls in Peruvian Promise, thank you!
During the past three months, the young women in Peruvian Promise have shown significant signs of growth and are quickly becoming leaders. They continue to mature as individual women, and at the same time have grown substantially closer more united as a group. The incredible support, trust, and genuine love they have for one another is remarkable, and empowers each girl with perpetual encouragement and the knowledge that she has a dependable group of sisters who will always be there for her. These young leaders continue to progress in their studies and are getting closer to completing their undergraduate degrees. They have studied English on a daily basis for more than 4 months now and each day they become more confident in their abilities to speak a second (or third in many cases) language! The girls also just received a brand news kitchen stove and their first washing machine in the apartment in Cusco. They are incredibly excited to not have to wash their clothes by hand any longer and can instead use this time in other beneficial ways.
On July 12th, five girls from Peruvian Promise flew to Lima to attend the FoCo Conference hosted by Fundación Angélica Fuentes. The foundation aims to strengthen female entrepreneurship by activating women’s abilities and capabilities so that they develop significant leadership skills that motivate them to exert an influence in the economic, political, social, and cultural spheres. Peruvian Hearts founder, Ana Dodson, was one of several inspirational speakers to address more than 10,000 men and women who attended at the conference. Other speakers included women such as Angelica Fuentes, founder of Fundación Angélica Fuentes, Zainab Salbi, founder of Women for Women International, Christina Berton, founder of the Amara Pro Self-Esteem Foundation, Senna (from the documentary, Girl Rising), Peru's former Minister of Culture, Susana Baca, among others. The conferences was streamed live over the web and at one point the girls from Peruvian Promise were recognized in front of the entire croud for their inspiring accomplishements. It was a life changing experience for the scholars who attended and after their return to Cusco, they shared what they had learned with the other girls in the Peruvian Promise. Peruvian Heats works hard to offer these young women opportunities for leadership, participation in service work as well as mentorship and regular empowerment classes. The aspiring young leaders in Peruvian Promise are taking full advantage of the opportunities that have been presented to them as they continue to flourish.
One inspirational young woman in Peruvian Promise, Rosa, is studying chemical engineering at the extremely competitive National University in Cusco. Rosa has seven brothers and sisters and currently lives with her mother and her younger sister in Izcuchaca. She commutes by bus over an hour everyday, each way to and from school. She is incredibly intelligent and driven to succeed and recently won a class competition for building the best model rocket. We are so proud of Rosa for her inspiring effort in school and know that she will soon be one of the best chemical engineers in Peru! Keep up the good work, Rosa, and know that many people are cheering for you and enthusiastic to watch your future endeavors and successes!
We want to welcome, Karen, as the newest girl to join the Peruvian Promise family. We are so excited to have another very special, incredibly smart and driven young women join the rest of our young scholars. Karen will graduate from secondary school in December and plans to attend a university prepertory academy to prepare fot the college entrance exam to study law. She moved into the Peruvian Promise apartment in Cusco, where seven of the girls in the program currently live in order for them to more easily focus on their studies while attending university. Karen's mother was extremely supportive and very grateful for her daughter to receive an opportunity to participate in this transformative empowerment program. Karen is a great addition to the program and will soon completely transform her own life and drastically change the lives of her current and future family members. She is the next girl to help us break the cycle of inter-generational poverty in Peru.
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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.
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