Unleash the Leader in a Girl

by The Mariposa DR Foundation
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We need your help to spread the word!
We need your help to spread the word!

Dear Friends,

We have some exciting news, and we need your help!

For the past several months, Mariposa staff, volunteers, and girls have been working to create our own social media campaign for the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence. We had the chance to collaborate with girls’ rights activist and Girl Rising producer, Holly Gordon, and Talía Tavárez, granddaughter of heroine Minerva Mirabal.

The 16 Days of Activism Campaign begins on Friday, November 25th. This day is the anniversary of the assassination of the Dominican national heroines, the Mirabal sisters, and has been declared the International Day of the Elimination of Violence against Women. The Mirabal sisters, also known as the Mariposas, risked and lost their lives to fight for freedom. Their murders, ordered by dictator Trujillo, symbolize the violence women experience worldwide, but the proximity of their death inspires the Mariposa girls as leaders in the movement against gender-based violence.

Mariposa girls, staff, volunteers, friends, and community supporters will be participating in the campaign. We are working hard to spread the word and make it go viral, and we need your help!

We have created the hashtag #nosoytumamacita (I am not your mamacita) as a way of speaking back against the violence that is invoked upon women and girls daily. This hashtag addresses one of the most prevalent forms of gender-based violence: the street harassment that women around the world face every day. However our campaign will address other forms of violence and culminates on December 10th, International Human Rights Day.

We are encouraging girls and women around the world to post photos of themselves affirming their identities.  For example, a woman could create a sign that says “I am a doctor and save lives. #nosoytumamacita”. Men are welcome to join in on the campaign too, and can post affirming messages such as “I don’t support violence against women #nosoytumamacita” or “She is more than a statistic #nosoytumamacita.”

Below, you will find a pre-made poster that you can print and fill out. Take a picture with your sign and make it your profile picture! Get your friends, family, classmates, co-workers, etc. to join in as well! On Tuesday, November 29th, Giving Tuesday, let everyone know there will be matching opportunities on Global Giving to support our programs!

Everyone has the right to live a life free of violence. Take a few minutes to lend your voice to the fight against gender-based violence worldwide. We look forward to seeing your posts on Facebook, Instagram & Twitter. Thank you, as always, for your support!

Sincerely,

The girls, staff, & volunteers at the Mariposa DR Foundation

Holly Gordon gave social media campaign workshop
Holly Gordon gave social media campaign workshop
Local school director Miguelina: "I am a teacher"
Local school director Miguelina: "I am a teacher"
Download this poster to participate!
Download this poster to participate!

Links:

Fanny and Yoskany learning to swim!
Fanny and Yoskany learning to swim!

Dear Friends,

This year we had another successful summer camp at the Mariposa Center for Girls! We welcomed volunteers from around the world, hosted groups of students, scholars, teachers, athletes, artists and dancers, all of who helped enrich our programs with their skills and positive energy. We held camp activities from the beginning of June until the end of July, with days at the center filled with fun and educational classes, as well as weekly excursions and adventures.

This year our summer camp was special because we really had three separate programs—one for our younger girls ages 8-12, one for our older girls ages 12-15, and internship placements for our oldest Mariposas ages 15-18.

The camp for the youngest girls, the Maripositas, was filled with exciting and educational classes. Throughout the summer, we worked on strengthening swimming skills and teamwork. For some of the girls, this was their first time in a pool! It will come as no surprise that swimming was one of their favorite classes—not only does it support healthy lifestyle through exercise, but it also empowers the girls to overcome fears and learn a new skill. In addition to swimming, the Maripositas worked on math skills, strengthened reading comprehension, practiced environmental stewardship in outdoor education class, expressed themselves through art and boosted their confidence through dance! The girls were able to learn from visiting artists such as Pepe Coronado, a Dominican silkscreen artist from New York, and Christal Brown, the head of the dance department at Middlebury College.

This summer, the Mariposa DR Foundation also debuted its new biking program! Through a generous donation, we now have 60 bicycles and helmets to use to teach our girls how to ride bikes and give them greater mobility. The summer camp for the older girls included daily biking classes in which the girls explored their community through various bike routes and learned basic bike maintenance. They also had English, reading, swimming and sports classes.

A select group of Mariposa girls that reached the highest swimming level last summer were able to enjoy our surfing program! The girls spent two mornings a week on the beach learning how to catch waves and building their confidence in the water. The surfing program culminated in our 3rd Annual Mariposa Surf Contest on the last day of camp. All of the Mariposa girls attended the event, shouting words of encouragement and excitedly waving their posters of support! This year we had two winners, one in the beginner category and one in the advanced. It was a wonderful end to a successful summer to have the whole Mariposa family together, having fun, supporting each other, and soaking up the sun!

Our summer programs aimed to not only enrich the girls’ lives through academic support and the arts, but it also served as a safe place for them to spend their summer. By spending their days surrounded by friends and supportive staff, engaging in stimulating activities, the Mariposas continued on the personal journeys towards empowerment! Thank you for all the crucial support you give to girls’ education and empowerment, we could not have done it without you!


With gratitude,

The girls, family, staff and volunteers at the Mariposa DR Foundation. 

Lorena biking around Cabarete
Lorena biking around Cabarete
Falande shows her silk screening artwork
Falande shows her silk screening artwork
Naomi won the advanced surf group
Naomi won the advanced surf group
International volunteers with Elidania and Carla
International volunteers with Elidania and Carla

Links:

Mariposas play role models from the US, DR & Haiti
Mariposas play role models from the US, DR & Haiti

Dear Friends,

Since September the Mariposa girls ages 15-18 have been participating in a comparative study of Dominican, Haitian, and US women role models called the Girl Workshop Series. This interactive study has included research, field trips, and workshops with some of the women they studied, including Dominican-American author Julia Alvarez and Native Americans Radmilla Cody and Mary Kim Titla.

In April the study culminated in a final event created by the Mariposa girls titled “Celebrating Our Similarities.” This event was attended by all the Mariposa girls, US Embassy representatives, members of the local community, and two of the women from the study. The event included circus and musical performances by the Mariposa girls that wowed the guests.

The main performance was a theatrical piece in which the Mariposa girls each represented one woman from the comparative study and participated in an imaginary women’s conference that unified these leaders and activists from different times and places. The featured women included Haitian activists Myriam Merlet and Sonia Pierre; Dominican activists and educators Aniana Vargas, Julia Alvarez, Mamá Tingó, Salome Ureña, Paulina Pérez, Margo Suriel and Minerva Mirabal; American activists and author Maya Angelou, Lucy Burns, Alice Paul, and Harriet Tubman; and Native Americans Anacaona, Mary Kim Titla, and Radmilla Cody.

The presentation was a combination of spoken word, poetry, music and dance. It brought together rich elements from three different countries and over 500 years of history. Creating the presentation solidified the girls’ understanding and enthusiasm of the many connections that weave the lives of these women together, as well as how the lives of these women are not so different from their own.

A powerful way to unleash the leader in a girl is to teach her the stories of the amazing women that came before her, because empowered role models lead to empowered girls! Thank you for your essential support of our girls’ education and empowerment programs. 

With gratitude,

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

Odalissa as environmental activist Aniana Vargas
Odalissa as environmental activist Aniana Vargas
Mariposa girl Jafreisy starring in the circus show
Mariposa girl Jafreisy starring in the circus show
Mariposa musical group performing original songs
Mariposa musical group performing original songs
Mariposas Jafreisy and Victoria as US suffragists
Mariposas Jafreisy and Victoria as US suffragists
Julia Alvarez and Margo S. w/Executive Director
Julia Alvarez and Margo S. w/Executive Director

Links:

The Mariposa girls on the beach in Punta Cana!
The Mariposa girls on the beach in Punta Cana!

Dear Friends, 

This February the Mariposa Girls had the experience of a lifetime – they were invited to perform in front of 1,800 people at an all-inclusive resort in Punta Cana to spread the word about the world’s most powerful force for change, girls!

Most girls in poverty will never have the chance to visit a 5-star hotel, but tourism is the number one industry in the Dominican Republic and therefore the largest job market. This trip was only the beginning of our hospitality program, in which the Mariposa girls will gain the necessary skills to work in the industry. The girls got a full tour of the hotel and took advantage of the pools, magic shows and other activities they never knew existed. These girls are the stars of the Mariposa Girls Leadership Program and one day will be leaders in the field of hospitality.

After months of hard work rehearsing song and dance routines, 30 Mariposa girls went on an all expenses paid field trip to an all-inclusive resort in Punta Cana. When they strutted out onto the huge stage in front of the large audience they didn’t falter, they wowed the crowd with their performance and brought staff and guests alike to tears. To see one of the songs they performed, check out this video

The girls shone as the rock stars they are: singing and dancing and leading the crowd participation. They later had the chance to mingle with the guests in a smaller setting, practicing their English and overcoming cultural barriers to talk about Mariposa’s work. You couldn’t tell that the girls had never been in this environment before as they laughed and enjoyed the resorts amenities. Many of them had never been on an elevator before or seen so much food available to eat.

The Mariposa Girls were grateful for the opportunity to shine and discover new possibilities for their future. It just goes to show what can happen if you unleash the leader in a girl! Thank you for making this possible.

With gratitude,

The girls, families, staff and volunteers at The Mariposa Center for Girls

The Mariposa girls wowing the crowd!
The Mariposa girls wowing the crowd!
Rock stars!
Rock stars!
Enjoying the pools!
Enjoying the pools!

Links:

Cultural Exchange
Cultural Exchange

Dear Friends,

Cultural exchange and education is a core component of our program at Mariposa. We believe that by exposing our girls to other cultures, we can help them grow to be global citizens with a greater understanding of the world around them. This November, during Native American Heritage Month, we were fortunate enough to host two amazing representatives from the Navajo and Apache Nations right here in the Dominican Republic! Radmilla Cody, of the Tla'a'schi'i' (Red Bottom People) clan, is a Grammy award nominee and domestic abuse survivor and advocate and Mary Kim Titla, San Carlos Apache, is a Native American youth advocate, 20 year veteran TV newscaster and former school administrator.

Radmilla and Mary Kim spent a week at The Mariposa Center sharing their cultures with the girls. It was an extremely enriching experience for both parties as the parallels between the struggles of indigenous people on reservations and the struggles of growing up in poverty in Cabarete created powerful connections. The Mariposa girls of all ages participated in identity and coming of age workshops, crafting circles and music and dance classes. Together, they shared recipes, music, dances, language, traditional clothing and cultural practices. 

It was an amazing week full of sharing and understanding of indigenous cultures in the US with the Mariposa girls. They were left with a greater understanding of the situation of indigenous people in the US and the power of Radmilla and Mary Kim's personal struggles. Our visitors' final day at the center was very emotional as we say farewell to both of them and to an incredibly rich, cultural experience. An unforgettable week for everyone involved.

Experiences like this empower girls by showing them that they matter, and that they too have the power to build solidarity and support for all girls and women across the globe. These life changing experiences are only possible because of your generosity and we thank you for your support.

With gratitude,

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

Radmilla and Mary Kim
Radmilla and Mary Kim
Group Photo
Group Photo

Links:

 

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Organization Information

The Mariposa DR Foundation

Location: Ithaca, NY - USA
Website: http:/​/​www.mariposadrfoundation.org/​
Project Leader:
Jessica Lawson
Cabarete, Dominican Republic
2016 Year End Campaign
Time left to give
$149,969 raised of $250,000 goal
 
2,733 donations
$100,031 to go
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