Ending generational poverty by empowering girls
Since 2009, the Mariposa DR Foundation has been dedicated to finding sustainable solutions to end generational poverty in the Dominican Republic’s north coast, largely by focusing on educating and empowering girls. The foundation seeks to give Dominican girls the education, skills and self-confidence to pursue a path of their choosing.
The foundation’s Mariposa Center for Girls in Cabarete supplements what some of the area’s poorest girls get from their local schools. They are given school supplies, uniforms and, where possible, scholarships to pursue higher education. They go to school for half the day and spend the other half at the center where they receive additional individual tutoring to learn basic reading and writing, arts, environmental stewardship, health, nutrition, leadership and job skills.
The foundation’s work reaches far beyond the center. Medical and dental visits are paid for, healthy snacks and meals are provided, and nutrition and healthy cooking classes are part of the curriculum. The girls are also taught sports they would not normally have access to, including softball, volleyball, tennis, surfing and kite-surfing.
The foundation also strives to work with as many girls from one family as it can so that the mother can work. Recognizing that lack of sleep was affecting not just the girls, but whole families, the foundation has provided more than 70 new beds and has helped rebuild homes for local families.
The families who are helped are expected to give back in some way, either volunteering or working for half-pay at the center so they are invested in the outcomes. The foundation has also worked to improve local schools.
The Mariposa DR Foundation welcomes long-term volunteers and pro bono work. To learn more or to donate, visit mariposadrfoundation.org.
— Lisa Gosselin Lynn
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