In the fall we were fortunate enough to be able to purchase land to create the Mariposa Center for Girls. This January we officially moved in and are settling into our new home. Although we have a long way to go before the building is all fixed up and ready to go, the girls are thrilled to finally have their own safe space where they can learn, play, grow and be together in peace.
Saturday mornings have always been a very important time for the Mariposa girls. The girls are busy during the week with different school schedules, Mariposa extracurricular activities, family obligations and jobs. Saturday mornings are a sacred time where we can all just be together as a unified group. Every Saturday morning all of the Mariposa girls arrive at the center at 9am and start the day with a healthy breakfast of either cereal and yogurt, or eggs, fruit and bread. The girls are then broken up into smaller groups by age to participate in activites including jewelry making, art classes, pottery, theatre, games, sports, field trips and more. The girls work with many local artisans and volunteers each week and often welcome guest speakers and activity leaders.
The Mariposa Girls Group was started just three years ago with only 15 girls meeting every Saturday morning. Because of your support we have grown to include 100 girls in our many programs throughout the week. Most of the girls are involved in activities up to six days a week! Saturday mornings continue to be a special time for the Mariposas to come together as a unified group, share and reflect on the week and just have fun being girls. We thank you all for your continued support to "Unleash the Leader in a Girl" and look forward to sending you more updates from the field soon!
By Jessica Lawson - Co-Founder, Associate Director
This year is off to a very busy start at The Mariposa DR Foundation. Because of your generosity in the Girl Effect Challenge, we raised enough money to move onto our new property! The girls, their families and more than 50 local and international volunteers have been hard at work cleaning, painting, moving, making basic repairs and getting everything set up. We have moved our main offices in the Dominican Republic over to the new center and are now running our daily programs in our very own space. It feels truly amazing and the girls are thrilled!
While it's all coming together nicely, we have a long way to go. Currently our two biggest needs are replacing the roof and furnishing our kitchen/cafeteria so that we can provide consistent meals during our programs. In the next few months we will welcome several volunteer groups including Lawrence Academy from Groton, Massachusetts, to lend a helping hand in planting gardens and organizing classrooms.
Currently we are running academic tutoring, art, theatre, dance, softball, soccer and our Saturday programs at the new center. If we can raise enough funds in the next month to furnish our kitchen and replace the roof then we can work on getting our very own pool ready for swimming lessons, just in time for the summer! We are also working hard to build out our library. If you would like more information on specific ways you can help or special naming opportunities now available please get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We cannot thank you enough for your ongoing support and we look forward to an exciting 2013.
By Jessica Lawson - Co-Founder, Associate Director
At the Children's Court
This fall we started a new component of our empowerment program for the older girls at The Mariposa DR Foundation. All Mariposa girls ages 15 and older made bi-monthly trips to Puerto Plata, the nearest and 3rd largest city in the Dominican Republic, to learn their way around. The purpose of the trips were for the girls to obtain the necessary knowledge and navigation skills to understand where to go when presented with any special situation or circumstance, familiarize themselves with available resources, and be able to orient their families and community members to the city.
The girls visited health institutions, government offices, schools, cultural centers and more. Several places offered special workshops, speakers and mini-courses for the girls. At a free HIV/AIDS clinic they gathered information on how to protect themselves from sexually transmitted infections and unwanted pregnancies. During their visit to the Court they learned about their rights and where to go in the event they are violated and need to file suit. They talked about domestic violence and had a chance to meet with female judge, Luisa Marmolejos, and ask her questions. At the secretariat for women the girls participated in vocational courses from art and jewelry making, to secretarial and hospitality training.
The girls also had the opportunity to attend the inauguration of a monument dedicated to the famous Mirabal sisters in Puerto Plata. On this occasion, they listened to a speech given about the significance of their murder on November 25th, 1960 and how these powerful women from the Dominican Republic have inspired a worldwide movement to end violence against women.
We are off to a great start in 2013 and have just moved our main offices in the Dominican Republic over to our new center! We have lots going on in the coming months so stay tuned for more updates from the field. Thank you always for your continued support.