The Mariposa Foundation is a non-profit organization here in the Dominican republic that works with girls here to "Educate, Empower, Employ". "At Mariposa, we know that to invest in the education, health and empowerment of a girl is to invest in the mother of a future generation. If we provide the tools, she will do the rest-- she will marry later, have fewer, healthier children, earn her own, steady income and then reinvest 90% of her earnings back into her family and community. If you want to end poverty and help the developing world, the best thing you can do is invest time, energy, and funding into adolescent girls."
Currently they are collaborating with UCW providing a "short course" focusing on "Sustainability as Social Justice" here in the Dominican republic. There are 21 young women from 10 countries across the globe participating.
I was honored to be asked to speak one evening about our eco-sytem and our oceans. We discussed life in the oceans, the threats and the actions we can take to start to make a change. It was amazing - these young women were truly engaged, and asked question after question! GREAT people and a great outlook for the future.
On a side note, the two young ladies representing the Dominican Republic have both received "full-ride" scholorships at major US universites. One to study International Relations and the other to study Business management.
A few days after the lecture, we were able to organize a group activity with the help of artist Teddy Tejeda. Teddy is a local artist and considered one of the most influencial contemporary artists in the country. His works hang in the National Gallery in Santo Domingo.
We organized a beach clean-up on a smalll beach and then created works of art from the refuse. In the true spirit of conservation, the artworks, now hanging in the Mariposa Center, show that we CAN re-use and re-invent. What was one persons garbage, became a tool for another to create a work of art that illustrates what we are doing to the planet and at the same time shows how we can change things.
This was an excellent experience not only for the participants but also for me! There look very positive things for the future thanks to organizations like Mariposa and UWC.
Have a great week!