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STATISTICALLY, THE CURRENT HAS ALWAYS BEEN AGAINST US. The Dominican Republic is number 10 in the world for countries most affected by climate change and ranked number 19 for the world’s most child brides. We are consistently at the bottom of the chart in Latin America for educational outcomes in math and reading and our number one industry, tourism, has just been blindsided. The very innovation that made the Mariposa DR Foundation unique and successful now makes us exceptionally vulnerable. Since our inception our team has worked to be self-sufficient through the creation of social businesses. The temporary loss of these social businesses right now poses a serious threat to our important work. With a fierce determination to jump over the hurdles that are in front of us, and so that we can continue to provide outstanding opportunities for girls growing up in poverty, we created this report. We understand that now more than ever is the time to be innovative, agile and efficient. We hope you join us as we continue to create sustainable solutions to end generational poverty, by supporting the world’s most powerful force for change. Sincerely,

Patricia Thorndike Suriel

Executive Director, The Mariposa DR Foundation


our MISSION


WE CREATE SUSTAINABLE SOLUTIONS TO END GENERATIONAL POVERTY BY EDUCATING & EMPOWERING GIRLS AND INSPIRING THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY TO JOIN THE GLOBAL MOVEMENT


We fulfill our mission by doing whatever it takes to make sure she reaches her full potential. Some of the ways we do this are: • Academic Enrichment - Scholarships, tutoring, vocational training • Experiential Learning - Field trips, active learning classrooms • Environmental Education & Activism - Environmental stewardship, environmental sustainability commitments • Global Partnerships - Creating global awareness, collaborating with top learning institutions around the world, hosting events and guest speakers • Safe Space - The Mariposa Center for Girls provides a safe space for girls, build homes for families as needed • Arts and Culture Curriculum - Mural projects, curriculum and emphasis on mending Haiti-DR relations, creating books and songs • Access to Health & Wellness Services and Education - Providing annual medical check-ups, health education classes, athletic and water sports lessons, mindfulness and meditation, healthy meals and snacks • Promoting Global Awareness of the Girl Movement - Creating the girls’ museum and visitor center, website, and social media • Social Enterprises - Allowing the organization to be self-sustaining and offering employment to women in the community through: Cabarete Guide, Cabarete Coffee, Upcycled Sails, and Alta Gracia Farm


a message from our honorary chairwoman, julia alvarez The Mariposa Center for Girls is an oasis of hope in landscape that does not favor triumphant outcomes for the girl child. In the Dominican Republic twelve percent (12%) of all girls marry at fifteen, that “magic” age when a Latina girl supposedly becomes a woman. Forty-two percent (42%) will marry by the time they are seventeen. Teen pregnancy secures a life of poverty. These girls are on the receiving end of a culture of abuse, machismo, and poverty: hours of chores at home, long and unsafe walks to schools with limited resources once they arrive. The pressures and demands are enough to make even the strongest girls break and lose their spirit. Additionally, many of the girls who attend Mariposa Center for Girls are of Haitian descent—subject to discrimination in a country with a long anti-Haitian history. Patricia Suriel and her carefully handpicked staff are building a large safety net that offers every girl a promising future. As she journeys into adulthood, a Mariposa girl finds helpers who nurture her and protect her, inspiring mentors, protectors, and madrinas who empower her to become all she can be. Mariposa DR Foundation is determined to reach the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) by 2030. These goals focus on the environment, literacy, math, science, the arts, health, life skills, sports and social justice. We begin with our youngest

Mariposas—just eight-years-old—setting the stage for a transformation to happen. She enters a world of smart, caring teachers who provide her what might otherwise be lost forever: roots, belongingness, safety. She finds craft in which to sail and a grand narrative of adventure. For a decade now, Bill Eichner, my husband, and I have seen this happening to the girls at Mariposa DR Foundation. Their hopefulness, vulnerability, and beauty have touched us profoundly. For this reason we have decided to entrust our three-hundred acre coffee farm to the Mariposa DR Foundation, under the leadership of its Executive Director, Tricia Suriel. She, a trailblazer and a social entrepreneur, a determined visionary who is not afraid to question the status quo. She embodies what it means to be resilient, enterprising, courageous, and compassionate. We have witnessed first-hand her ability to be agile in times of crisis. Her ideas are creative and thoughtful and carried out with integrity. Her tireless work is embodied in the success of every Mariposa girl. May they grow up into strong, smart, well-prepared, compassionate women, future leaders of their country and their global community. We need every one of their wingbeats to make our dreams for a safe, viable, peaceful planetary home soar. Julia Alvarez Bill Eichner


The construction of our Educational Center on the Mariposa campus at Finca Alta Gracia has been put on hold until further notice.

EDUCATION Leaders from the United Nations and the World Health Organization address the impact of COVID-19 and the disproportionate impact on women and girls, saying that school closures will exacerbate existing gender inequalities, particularly for the poorest girls. • School closures do not just mean that girls are taking on more chores at home, it could also lead to millions more girls dropping out of school before they complete their education, especially girls living in poverty, girls with disabilities or girls living in rural, isolated locations. • Evidence from past epidemics shows that adolescent girls are at particular risk of dropping out and not returning to school even after the crisis is over. • Governments must keep all girls engaged in learning, factor in gender considerations when planning for school to start up again and make good on funding commitments.


Adrianna lives in a small home with her parents, her two sisters, baby brother, and her grandma. They have a leaky roof, spiders, and sometimes rats. It’s cold at night in the mountains, but they have a big mattress and sleep close together to stay warm. The work on the new Mariposa Educational Center at Finca Alta Gracia has been put on hold until further notice. She was dreaming of the chance to have books in her community again and to meet new people.

Mirlanda sleeps on a small mat in front of the toilet in her one room home. She is 10 years old and has been part of the Mariposa program for almost two years. When she came into the program she could not read or even recognize a letter or a number in Spanish, but now reads fluently. She speaks Creole at home even though she has never been to her family’s homeland of Haiti. Now, with the global pandemic, she has been shut out. Distant learning is a privilege she cannot participate in. Her mom, who is unable to read, cannot help her with homework even if it could be sent home.


HEALTH • Women and girls have unique health needs, but they are less likely to have access to quality health services, essential medicines and vaccines, maternal and reproductive health care, especially in rural and marginalized communities. • Given the current context of the COVID-19 pandemic there will be huge impacts on healthcare services and reproductive health. These services are central to the health, rights, and well-being of women and girls. • The diversion of attention and critical resources away from these areas could exacerbate maternal mortality and morbidity and increase rates of adolescent pregnancies, HIV and sexually transmitted diseases. • According to a report by Every Woman, Every Child, it is estimated that in Latin America and the Caribbean 18 million women will lose regular access to modern contraceptives. • It is critical for all public health preparedness and response plans to COVID-19 to consider both the direct and indirect health impacts on women and girls. Attention to sexual and reproductive health and rights of women and girls. With this vulnerable population, it is extremely important to educate on how to reduce the risks of contracting COVID-19.


While getting food to the vulnerable families is pivotal; for Shela getting her HIV antiviral medicine is a matter of life and death. No public transportation is available to get to Puerto Plata where the clinic is. She cannot focus on her studies, instead she stays focused on the hours of chores and the beads of sweat that drip off her forehead on an account of the unforgiving, scorching Caribbean sun.


ABUSE & VIOLENCE • The isolation brought on by society will inadvertently increase trauma for vulnerable children. They no longer have the support network they have come to rely on: their trusted friends and teachers. • Violence against women and girls is increasing globally as the COVID-19 pandemic combines with economic and social stresses and measures to restrict contact and movement. Crowded homes, substance abuse, limited access to services and reduced peer support is exacerbating these conditions.


For Tanya, there are lots of men at the store in front of her home even though they are supposed to be inside at their own homes practicing social distancing. While Tanya does dishes and helps cook for the men, she hears the swear words you are not supposed to use and the dominos slam down on the table. She tries to distract herself with memories of a happier time when she is in the morning circle at the Mariposa Center for Girls. She does her mindfulness breathing to keep herself calm as she learned in yoga. She serves the rice and beans, keeps her eyes gazed at the floor, making sure not to attract attention and hopes the men will go home.


ECONOMY • The COVID-19 global crisis has made starkly visible the fact that the world’s formal economies and the maintenance of our daily lives are built on the invisible and unpaid labor of women and girls. It’s important that we make sure women and girls are getting access to jobs. • The Majority of Mariposa girls live in homes without a father. Women are the majority of temporary and low-paid workers globally. They are projected to experience the greatest financial losses as a result of the pandemic. • Gender equality cannot wait.


Alexandra and Joana’s mother went to Haiti in early March and was not able to get back into the DR when the country shut all borders. Sixteen year-old Alexandra has become the primary caregiver for her sister, step-dad and brother. She is cooking, cleaning, helping her sister with homework and trying to keep up with her own online studies, when the electricity and internet work. Living in a Mariposa-sponsored home, the girls are safe, but they do not know where their next meal will come from. Today they had eggs and batata, she told us, but she wasn’t sure if there would be a second meal.


OUR RECOVERY PLAN SUPPORTING THE MOST VULNERABLE OF THE VULNERABLE During the COVID-19 pandemic, the most effective policy responses will be those that account for how the crisis is experienced by women and girls. A CALL TO ACTION Planting the Seed of tomorrow and shining a light today on the world’s most powerful force for change.


RECOVERY PHASE 1 CURRENT SITUATION

We are assisting more than 100 families of our Mariposas based on their specific needs. This includes: • Saving Lives by Social Distancing: Educating about the importance of social distance and modeling what that looks like. We are sharing best practices for staying healthy. Public health posters are being made by the girls and displayed on the outside of their homes. • Feeding Families: Supporting some of our highest need families by creating accounts for them at local corner stores (colmados) and grocery stores. Families have ownership on what to buy, as they know their needs best. This also will help to stimulate the devastated local economy. We are also supplying some families in high need with clean water for drinking. • Distant Learning: Offering distance learning materials and access to iPads as well as ensuring Mariposas have resources to complete distance learning offered by their schools at the elementary, high school, and university levels. • Women’s Health: This can be an especially scary time for the pregnant women in our community. We are connecting with our Mariposa graduates who are pregnant and


offering them support and resources. We are also working in collaboration with CEPROSH to deliver medication to HIV+ community members in Cabarete and Sosua. We are distributing sanitary pads, soap and hand sanitizer. • Making Masks: Mariposa Upcycled Sails seamstress Maria Alexandra is making 200 masks out of old spinnaker sails to deliver to families. Additional funding will allow us to pay our second seamstress to expand the mask making and share them with the greater Cabarete community. • Nurturing the Mind: We are giving the Mariposas journals to write in and lending books from our library. We will be offering virtual yoga classes when they are able to connect to the internet. • Musical Instruments: We have delivered several musical instruments to the Mariposas’ homes so they can keep practicing and for their enjoyment. • Environment: Two new environmental workbooks created by our girls “Eco - Heroes” and “Our Oceans” will be printed once printers are open again and delivered to 2,000 children in Cabarete. • Supporting our Rise Up Scholars in the US: We are extremely lucky to have three “madrinas” supporting our three Rise Up Scholars who are stuck in the US and finishing their second semester of freshman year remotely. Thank you to Sherry Herdman, Staci Darmody, and Jen Furigay for opening their hearts and their homes.


RECOVERY PHASE 2 BACK TO THE MARIPOSA CENTER FOR GIRLS Mariposa DR Foundation moves full STEAM ahead. There will be a day when our girls can return to school, to the Mariposa Center for Girls, to the ocean and to the mountains, and we will be ready. The path to recovery very much depends on the financial support and commitments we are able to secure today. Our desire to be self sufficient through the creation of social businesses is what has attributed to our success. In Phase Two of our recovery plan, we are developing new social businesses that have either been on the back burner or seem essential with the changing times. Our focus will remain on STEAM, the environment, health and wellness, sports, peace education, social business and sustainable solutions to end generational poverty. Definition STEAM aims to spark an interest and lifelong love of the arts and sciences in children from an early age. Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Math are similar disciplines in that they all involve creative processes and none uses just one method for inquiry and investigation.


RECOVERY PHASE 3 EXTRAORDINARY TIMES WHEN PAST AND PRESENT JOIN AND WE RISE UP AGAIN.


Together we will create a model for the world. Working with girls is both challenging and rewarding. We know that our investment in girls is closing the gap on generational poverty. There’s still more work and more learning to do. We have already engaged thousands of dedicated volunteers, donors, educators and partners. Now is the time to build upon these relationships, create new ones, and share best practices. We believe our campus is the ideal place to do just that.

How can you help? contact us: info@mariposadrfoundation.org Visit our donation page at: www.mariposadrfoundation.org

The Mariposa DR Foundation is a US501(c)(3) not for profit organization working to empower girls in Cabarete, Dominican Republic.

us address: The Mariposa DR Foundation PO BOX 425 Ithaca, NY 14850

@Mariposa DR Foundation

Photography by: Amy S. Martin, David Brown, Girls Not Brides / Fran Afonso, Jianca Lazarus, Sebastiano Massimino, Mark Tuschman.


WE ARE REALISTS WHO ARE NOT AFRAID TO DREAM BIG. WE LOOK FOR SOLUTIONS TO WHAT SEEM LIKE UNSOLVABLE PROBLEMS. We listen to our supporters, our girls and their families. We are not afraid to make mistakes if it means it will get us closer to ending generational poverty, and consequently we have had tremendous success.

Profile for The Mariposa DR Foundation

Changing with the Times  

Changing with the Times  

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