It's been a very exciting fall here at The Mariposa DR Foundation. Because of your support we have been able to provide tuition scholarships, uniforms, books and supplies to all of our high school age girls! For the 2013-2014 academic year we have enrolled 16 girls in Cadin, a local Dominican private school, run by long time community leader and educator, Flavia Vidal. There are no day time high school programs in the town of Cabarete where we live so we provide transportation and resources to get our girls to our neighboring town of Islabon so that they can succesfully continue their education.
As a pioneer for education for poor children in her small, rural town, Cadin Director, Flavia Vidal, is thrilled to welcome the Mariposa Girls to her school. For more than 20 years, Flavia has worked tirelessly to provide quality education to children in her community. After seeing many girls slip through the cracks, drop out and get pregnant, she knows how critical it is to keep girls in school. Flavia is personally committed to the success of the Mariposa girls and we are grateful for her leadership and support. The Mariposa DR Foundation is also committed to making sure that Flavia has the resources she needs at her school to ensure that all the children at Cadin have access to quality education. This is just one of the ways that we form strong partnerships with great organizations and schools in our community, weaving a tight web of support for our girls that will enable them to succeed.
When girls are given the opportunity to pursue more education, this brings well demonstrated benefits for them and related benefits for the whole society. Girls with higher levels of education on average marry later, have smaller families, are more likely to survive childbirth and experience reduced incidences of HIV/AIDS.
These girls are the most effective means for ending generational poverty and we have you to thank for ensuring that our Mariposa girls have a bright academic future.
Summer is here and we are excited to update you on the success of our job skills training program for Mariposas ages 15 and up! We have been working hard to expose the girls to many career and job opportunities in the local community so that they can plan for their future. Throughout the recent school year, the 25 oldest Mariposas participated in mobile job fairs, career days and field trips throughout the community to learn about employment possibilities.
To date we have placed 10 girls in part time jobs at kite schools, coffee shops, hotels, schools, and at The Mariposa DR Foundation! In addition to specific vocational training, our girls have developed skills in areas such as work ethic, self-confidence and professionalism.
Unleash the Leader in a Girl contains community, educational and professional components to address the challenges young girls face, and improve their social and economic conditions. For boys, adolescence means independence, for girls it often means isolation as they have more household responsibilities than boys, making it harder for them to find gainful employment outside of the home. Providing girls with the tools they need to become economically empowered women is absolutely critical.
We thank you for your continued support of this project and look forward to updating you with more success stories soon!
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!
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.
October 11th marks the first ever International Day of the Girl. The reality is that the world is only now starting to realize that tens of millions of girls daily face poverty and discrimination, simply because they were born female. We want to thank you again for being ahead of the game, supporting the Mariposas and showing the world that our girls are a powerful force for change!
We've had a great start to the school year. Because we have received so much support this year we have been able to offer our girls entering high school scholarships to private school! This September seven Mariposas began the 9th grade at Cadin, a private Dominican highschool run by long time community leader Flavia Vidal. It is our hope that with continued support we can continue to send all of our girls to this school, increasing their chances of completing a secondary education and ending generational poverty for their families.
We are super excited to announce that we have recently acquired a large piece of property in our community to create the Mariposa Center for Girls. Over the next few months we will be putting together a capital campaign to support the development of a 5,000 square meter complex where our girls can engage in sports, academic tutoring, job training, crafts, computer classes, library access and much, much more.
We continue to be amazed by the tremendous amount of support and look forward to updating you on plans for the new center soon!
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