Such an exciting month for the Population Councila and Abriendo Oportunidades! In addition to our normal activities with the networks of mentors, girls and adolescents, the 73rd UN General Assembly happened. Our Program Director, Silvia Tum, was invited to give a speech on the event Empowering Girls, Openning Futures organized by the Council in New York and we wanted to share five key messages she pointed out:
"The life of indigenous girls and adolescents is one that exists in a context of poverty, exclusion and inequality - it is a life that becomes more dificult through the years. Pursuing their dreams requires a double or triple effort becouse of the situation they face on the family and community environment."
"We must have the certainty of being ourselves with freedom."
"At age 16, I was a girl in the Abriendo Oportunidades program. Through it, I learned about self-steem and sexual and reproductive health, gained the knowledge and skills to make my own decisions and drew a life plan that let me take a diferent path. Now I am an independent woman who fights for her dreams and has the circumstantes to reach them."
"I dream girls can pursue a bright future without endangering their lives and that more indigenous women be able to the same -or even greater- opportunities than I have."
"What I've learned through Abriendo Oportunidades, is that we can decide for ourselves. We can change this reality and our voice matters. The question is: What are we willing to do? If it's not us, who?
Make sure to watch the full panel of experts in our Facebook page and to spread the news about our event. We wish to raise visibility of young indigenous women in the Americas and to disseminate the good news about girl-centered programming. Thank you, our Global Giving family, for join us in our journey and for believing in the power of girls!
During the past couple of months we have told you, our GlobalGiving friends, about the Abriendo Oportunidades mentors' networks journey for sustainability and autonomy. Na'leb'ak network, located in Alta Verapaz, is taking big steps to achieve this dream.
These young women have proposed the creation of a center that will allow them to continue, sustain and consolidate the work they do with the girls and adolescents in the municipality. Their objective is to have their own space, were they can develop diverse activities for girls and women in a safe and friendly environment, where they can meet, play and train for their integral development. The Na'leb'ak Center for Adolescent Girls (as we are calling it for now) will build on Na'leb'ak's previous work on family agriculture. The center will also focus on the regeneration of the social, economic and ecological space of the municipality. The mentors' network has proposed that this headquarters also function as a center for regenerative and responsible production focused on chickens and traditional agriculture.
Na'leb'ak, in partnership with Population Council and Socialab, is taking this vision closer and closer to reality. We hope that in the next month we will be able to share with you some exciting news about the center and the network. We kindly acknowledge this could not be possible without you, our friends. Thank you for keeping in touch and help us make the Na'leb'ak Center a dream come true. Stay tuned for fresh news on the mentors' work or visit our Facebook page for more information.
Over the past fifteen years, Abriendo Oportunidades has been working to build the technical, economical and programmatic capacities of young women working as mentors for the girls and adolescents in rural contexts. These mentors are now organized as networks and are working towards independence from the Population Council, for the autonomy to implement and design girl-centered programs all by themselves.
In 2018, Population Council and the Abriendo Oportunidades program is equipping the mentors with STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) skills and resources that can be used in safe spaces for girls, as means to broaden their skills set. This project is aimed at creating a mentor led space for empowering girls through collaborative work using DIY technology. These spaces will be called Makerspace and will enable girls to share, create, learn, and play with each other.
Right now, we are facilitating the mentors with the knowledge to run the makerspaces and the abilities to create digital/web based projects for their communities and life (see the photos below!). We want to invite you, our GlobalGiving friend, to come with us in this process as you are part of the Abriendo family. We couldn't have done this without you. We will make sure to keep you posted on this journey and others through our monthly project reports.
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