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
Aug 29, 2019

Welcoming a New School Year!

Maripositas at the Mariposa Center for Girls
Maripositas at the Mariposa Center for Girls

With the school year beginning we wanted to take a moment to say thank you from all of us at the Mariposa DR Foundation for your support of the Mariposa Center for Girls.   While we are not a school in the traditional sense of the word, there is an incredible amount of learning happening at the Center each day! In fact, the Mariposa center first girls is one of the premier educational institutions on the island of Hispaniola.

The Mariposa Center for girls is the second home and a safe space for girls from elementary school through high school.  It is the only safe space for girls on the north coast of the Dominican Republic. Imagine a space where a young girl can come and feel safe and participate in yoga, music, tutoring, swimming, basketball, language, computers, robotics, ballet, and so much more.  Incredible, right? That’s what it looks like at our Center on a daily basis!

The girls and young women in our programs are divided up into four groups:

The Maripositas are 8-11 years old and are in 2nd-5th grades. They attend programs at the Center in the morning, are provided lunch, and then go to school in the afternoon.

The Mariposas are 11-14 years old and in 6th-8th grades.  The Mariposotas are 14-19 years old and in 9th-12th grades.  Both the Mariposas and the Mariposotas attend school in the morning and then come to the Center for lunch and participate in programs in the afternoon

The Mariposas Volando are young women who are 17-23 years old and in college or working and are continually supported by MDRF staff.  The do not attend programs at the Center on a daily basis, but often assist with programs and come for special events.  

As we look forward to the excitement of a new year and continue to build and beautify our site, your support means so much to us.  Be sure to follow us on social media to stay updated on our fall programs!

Practicing basketball
Practicing basketball
Map of the Mariposa Center for Girls
Map of the Mariposa Center for Girls
Practicing guitar
Practicing guitar
 
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