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Dec 17, 2019

In Her Own Words: Music, A lot More Than Lyrics and Sounds

Detiny and her ukulele
Detiny and her ukulele

Below is written by Detiny, a Mariposa who is currently in high school and has been in our programs since she was a small girl.  Detiny is a superstar at Mariposa.  A strong leader, she has incredible academic prowess and is an amazing mentor to the younger Mariposas.  From the beginning she has been involved in the music program at the Mariposa Center for Girls and as you’ll read below, it has had a big impact on her.  We are also impressed with her strong abilities in English, her second language! It is through the generosity of donors like you that we are helping to unleash the leader in a girl.

 

As long as I can remember, music has always been by my side; no matter if I was happy, sad, or angry. I remember the songs that my father and I used to listen together before he died. It is incredible how music is not only one thing, but how it has a lot of meanings at the same time. Music is memories, moments, feelings, a way to express yourself, a way to communicate, a way to have fun, and a way of life. Music has shaped part of who I am today. It has changed my life, my social environment, and my emotions. What I am trying to say is that music is not just lyrics and sounds;  music is the most powerful force in this world!

Feelings are often very complicated, and it is sometimes difficult to explain or know what you feel in certain moments, but fortunately, we have music to help us with this. When we play an instrument, dance, or sing these are often the best ways to express those emotions that are impossible to understand. Even this paragraph would be easier to comprehend if I take my instrument and sing a song about music. Music helps me to communicate each thing that I want to scream to the world, but am unable to. With it, I can tell the world how I am thinking, what do I feel, who I am, and, most importantly, that I have a voice that can be heard. Music helps me open my whole soul, and helps me be myself. When I am on stage playing my ukulele, or  playing my piano, or dancing, I show everyone, everything that I have inside me to share. In those moments of nervousness, adrenaline, and passion, the real Detiny comes out to take possession of every single thing.

My social life also has been impacted by music. In my experience at the Mariposa DR Foundation, I have had to socialize with different people around the world, and I had learned one important thing. The best way to make friends is through music because it is that special magical thing that can connect people that don’t even speak the same language. A fun group dance, a karaoke of a famous song, or playing instruments together, (even if someone may not know how to play well). This will create unforgetting moments, unforgetting feelings, and unforgetting friends. 

At last, music has given me a place in this world! Thanks to music I can have something that makes me unique and equal at the same time. Also, I have something that represents me, and I can say that I am part of. Now, because of music, I have one more magical thing living inside me, one feeling that makes me happier; more hopeful, more joyful, more human. I am a piece of something big that connects me with each person in this world, and I am a piece of one language called music. I am part of playlists, concerts, music videos, musicians, pianists, ukulele players, and I am part of one voice. I have one power, I can be noticed, I can say “I am here”. 

In music class
In music class
Nov 20, 2019

Safe Spaces Make Safe Havens

     Have you given much thought about what it's like to be a 12 year old girl in the Dominican Republic?  I don’t mean in terms of statistics, like the fact that the Dominican Republic ranks extremely high in adolescent pregnancy and child marriage in Latin America and the Caribbean, with over 40% of girls becoming teenage mothers and 36% of girls marrying before 18.  I mean, have you thought about how that translates to the day-to-day experience of a girl living in Cabarete?
     Everyday, girls face cat-calling as they walk down the street and must fight various pressures to drop out of school.  As they go about their day they see first-hand the threat of sex-tourism and sex-trafficking that looms over their town.  They must manage 2-4 hours of chores, including laundry, cleaning, and babysitting at home, on top of doing well in school.  For these reasons, having a safe space is essential to helping the Mariposa girls be the most powerful force for change. 
     For the Mariposas girls, having their own safe space allows them to develop healthy relationships with mentors and other girls in the community, and feel empowered to make a difference in their lives, the community and the world.  They are able to spend quality time with their peers and they have the emotional and physical safe space to learn new things.
     At the Mariposa Center for Girls we have the only all-girls basketball court that we know of on the island, allowing them to always be at the center of the game.  Girls can learn to swim in the privacy of our own pool without worrying about who is watching.  Math and science are learned in an environment where negative stereotypes about what girls can achieve are not welcome.  And our space is one where in downtime, they can come and hang out to talk to friends about their day or process what is going on their lives.

     Providing this safe space comes at a high cost.  We provide transportation to and from the Center every single day so that girls can arrive safely and without harassment. We also have security guards checking in visitors and making sure that those who come to our campus are authorized to be there.  Both are vital for successful programming, as they make sure that the Mariposas arrive to the Center safely and that they are safe while they are here.  We could not do what we do without your generous support.  Thank you for believing in our Mariposa Center for Girls project.  You are helping us make sure our safe space remains a safe haven.

Oct 2, 2019

International Day of Girl Child

Letting their voices be heard!
Letting their voices be heard!

October 11th is International Day of the Girl Child, a day that aims to highlight and address the needs and challenges girls face, while promoting girls' empowerment and the fulfillment of their human rights. We have marked the day every year since the day was established by the UN in 2012, and it is an incredible day for the Mariposas to celebrate how far they’ve come and also share with the world the injustices they face. 

Unfortunately, like many places in the world, the Dominican Republic has a high prevalence of gender based and sexual violence.  This, combined with the worst public education system in the region, makes working towards a better future especially difficult for girls. The Dominican Republic ranks extremely high in adolescent pregnancy and child marriage in Latin America and the Caribbean, with over 40% of girls becoming teenage mothers and 36% of girls marrying before 18. The overall unemployment rate in the DR is 14%, but is 42% for young women, and women make 44% less than men for equal work. Poverty leads many girls to marry to improve their economic situation, which leaves them vulnerable to abuse and abandonment.  These statistic are ominous, but the Mariposa girls are changing the tide. 

At the Mariposa DR Foundation, we love celebrating the world’s most powerful force for change and each year on International Day of the Girl we celebrate what it means to be a young, educated and determined girl striving towards her goals!  Through film, theatrical productions, creative projects and female empowerment, Mariposas are engaged in thoughtful discussions surrounding the many challenges girls face, such as access to education, early pregnancy, and violence in their homes and community.  We are so proud of these young women for breaking down barriers to fight for their dreams! 

As we finalize our to Day of the Girl celebration preparations we wanted to take a moment to say thank you.  You believe that unleashing the leader in a girl is an important investment and we could not do it without your support.  Thank you.  And Happy International Day of the Girl!

Celebrating with music
Celebrating with music
Most powerful force for change
Most powerful force for change
 
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