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Dec 27, 2017

It Takes a Village! A Mariposa Village

Artist Xavier Ringer with Mariposas & Volunteers
Artist Xavier Ringer with Mariposas & Volunteers

 

This fall, the incredible Mariposa girls led more than 500 children and 100 community stakeholders in a city-wide mural project entitled, “It Takes A Village.” In partnership with international artists, local educators, Cabarete public schools and the U.S.Embassy, the Mariposa Foundation sponsored two community murals and a series of workshops, transforming the city inside and out! This unprecedented collaboration brought the streets to life with color and united the whole community together in support of Cabarete’s young people.

 

Mariposa’s reach extended wide. Public school students across all grade levels joined the Mariposa girls and international artists in brainstorming ideas, creating designs and painting the murals. The result was a truly inclusive final product that everyone felt ownership for! The project ran during the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence, which is an international campaign to challenge violence against women and girls. The campaign runs every year from 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, to 10 December, Human Rights Day. This initiative aimed to empower at-risk youth to use art as a tool for expression, creativity and voice. Through community workshops, centered on values and empowerment, Mariposa emphasized art as an alternative to violence and risk-behavior activities.

 

Muralist Xavier Ringer and mosaic artist Annemarie Zwack guided the Mariposa girls and the children of Cabarete in values-centered workshops in order to create a mural design that represented the community’s vision. The Declaration of the Rights of Children written in Creole, English and Spanish was featured in the mural. The trilingual narration reflects the unique make-up of Cabarete, which is a melting pot of Dominican, Haitian and other international cultures. In a country that has historically been unaccepting of their Haitian neighbors, the children’s high regard for their diverse heritage displays hope for a more peaceful and united future. The Mariposa girls’ pride in leading their peers into a different future is evident in their wide smiles!

 

This December, we reflect on how much the Mariposas have grown and accomplished. At the unveiling of the mural project, the Mariposas celebrated with a grand performance, featuring song, dance and theater. Artist Annemarie shared about a special part of the mural, “This mango tree and the fruit it offers represent the growth and cultivation that the Mariposas have undertaken in pursuing their education. ‘Siembra tu futuro!’ / ‘Sow your future!’ is a theme they identified for this mural.” In a town where a young girl is more likely to become a teenage mother or bride than finish high school, the Mariposa girls are changing that reality and reaping the rewards of their hard work.

 

It takes a village, but the future is bright for the Mariposas. Together, we can keep making this important work possible. Invest in a girl - she will do the rest!

 

With Gratitude,

 

 The girls, parents, staff and volunteers

"Education is the way to a better future"
"Education is the way to a better future"
The Rights of the Children held by Viviana, 16,
The Rights of the Children held by Viviana, 16,
Katiana, 16, shares her pride!
Katiana, 16, shares her pride!
Mango mosaic tree represents growth
Mango mosaic tree represents growth
This village is raising up its youth!
This village is raising up its youth!
Oct 18, 2017

Mariposa Celebrates International Day of the Girl!

Sory and ChiChi celebrate the Day of the Girl
Sory and ChiChi celebrate the Day of the Girl

The Mariposa DR Foundation celebrated the International Day of the Girl this past October 11th with more than 100 girls here in Cabarete, Dominican Republic. This urgent global celebration and movement highlights both the adversity and triumphs of girls through their adolescence. The day aims to affirm the value of an empowered and educated girl, as well as reinforce the campaign for human rights and equality across the world. At the Mariposa Center for Girls, we love celebrating the world’s most powerful force for change! 

In recognition of the Day of the Girl, the foundation hosted a screening of the documentary, Girl Rising, which follows the lives of girls from around the world. The Mariposa girls engaged in thoughtful discussions surrounding the many challenges girls face, such as access to education, early pregnancy, and violence in their homes and community.  To promote empowerment, they created a collaborative mural of self-affirming and positive statements and their handprints. These messages were associated with female leadership and their own personal aspirations. A few of the statements the Mariposas wrote included: “I am a powerful girl who fights for her dreams,” “I am capable of changing the world” and“I am intelligent and a future astronaut.” We are so proud of these young women for breaking down barriers to fight for their dreams! 

The oldest Mariposas also created and performed theatrical adaptations of real life scenarios that they face here in DR, such as how to address misogyny, domestic violence and youth pregnancy to present to the younger girls. The skits were relatable and authentic. Andrea, age 13, shared, "It was an impactful day. It made me think about all that girls can really accomplish."

Through film, theatrical productions, creative projects and female empowerment, we celebrated what it meant to us to be a young, educated and determined girl striving towards her goals! Access to a quality education, resources and confidence equips girls to change their circumstances and reinvest into their communities - these are all factors which make her the most influential agent of change in the developing world. Through your donations, you are investing in the Mariposa girls and a better tomorrow. Thank you for making our mission possible and for your continued support! 

In gratitude,

The Mariposa girls, staff and volunteers

"I am a girl!" community mural
"I am a girl!" community mural
Mariposa hermanas (sisters) always lend a hand
Mariposa hermanas (sisters) always lend a hand
Nothing Can Stop Me!
Nothing Can Stop Me!
She wants to be a singer.
She wants to be a singer.
Our Mariposas are powerful role models
Our Mariposas are powerful role models
Oct 17, 2017

Spreading Hope and Change Through Art

The Mariposa Center Belongs to Them!
The Mariposa Center Belongs to Them!

At the Mariposa Center for Girls, we aim to create a space of inspiration and motivation for the world’s most powerful force for change. We are continuously “beautifying” our Center with art to spark new ideas, foster hope and encourage our girl change agents.

This fall, we faced two monstrous hurricanes, which left many in the DR homeless. Thankfully, the Mariposa Center was left without extensive damage. We were heartbroken to have lost most of our garden and a few special trees, but we know many are still struggling and feel fortunate that our community was spared. After a slow start to our school year, we are excited to unveil our latest projects and hit the ground running!

With the help of some dedicated volunteers, painted inspirational quotes were added in the breezeway outside of each of the classrooms. These quotes are the words of powerful Dominican, Haitian and North American female activist and leaders. Among the female legends featured at the Mariposa Center are Edwidge Danticat, Frida Kahlo, Julia Alvarez, Maya Angelou, Michelle Obama and Myriam Merlet. Lyrics from the Mariposa Musical Group’s song “Solidarity” are also included, displayed in front of the music room.

The quotes, written in Spanish, English and Creole, serve as encouragement and strength for the Mariposa girls. They can see themselves in these woman as future leaders. They also recognize that they are already a part of the women and girl’s movement, when they see their own words painted on the wall. Sharlin, age 10, said “I got a little piece of paper to write down all the quotes and take them home.” Albelys, age 11, said her favorite quote was from Sandra Cisneros. She shared, “For me, the quote helps me to know that I am intelligent, strong, beautiful and sure of who I am.” These powerful words have a strong impact on the Mariposa girls!

As we beautify the Mariposa Center, we are creating a space that serves as the learning and inspiration hub for the world's most powerful force for change. The World Health Organization affirms that the positive impact of girls’ education has been shown to transcend generations, resulting in better health outcomes among women, their children, and eventually their grandchildren.* We are so thankful for your role in the fight to end poverty through girl’s empowerment. Your donations enabled us to purchase the materials and supplies needed to beautify our Center for the Mariposa girls.

We couldn’t have done it without you!

With gratitude,

The girls, families, volunteers and staff at The Mariposa DR Foundation

*World Health Organization, Integrating Poverty and Gender into Health Programmes: A Sourcebook for Health Professionals. 2005.

Albelys & Sharlin inspired for the school year
Albelys & Sharlin inspired for the school year
Girl Champions Transform the Breezeway
Girl Champions Transform the Breezeway
Mariposa Staff Member with Her Favorite Quote
Mariposa Staff Member with Her Favorite Quote
Empowering messages empower girls!
Empowering messages empower girls!
Volunteers show off the finished product
Volunteers show off the finished product
 
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