Falande sticks out for her persistence and huge smile. When Mariposa programs were just getting started, and we did not yet have our own space, our capacity was very limited. Falande heard about our programs and started showing up every day for a year, despite being told repeatedly that there was no room for her. When we moved to the Mariposa Center for Girls she officially became a Mariposa girl and started bringing her sisters along. Cherley, Falande, and Samantia were all born in Haiti and came to the Dominican Republic with their single mother. Fluent in Creole and Spanish, they each have different strengths and love being a Mariposa. They have three younger sisters who will join Mariposa programs as soon as they are old enough. Falande and her family are a great example of resilience and how a girl can change the future of an entire family.
Maria Angelica has been in Mariposa from the beginning, taking advantage of all of our programs. She lives with her father and mother, who left school in 3rd grade and married at the age of 16. Maria Angelica is brought to tears when she talks about how the Mariposa changed her life: while all of her childhood friends are married and having kids as teenagers she is finishing high school and applying to programs both nationally and internationally to continue her studies. You can find her studying, surfing, speaking English, or singing (see Que lo que video)!
Naomi has been in our program for five years and has become a superb surfer and circus performer. Naomi’s mother married at age 14 and has four children, Naomi being the youngest. The Mariposa DR Foundation built a house for her family because they were living in terrible conditions. In 2013 Naomi’s older sister became pregnant at age 16 and in 2014 Naomi’s father died in a tragic accident. Despite all of these challenges Naomi is flourishing in all areas.
Luis Mina is part of our Cradle to College program and has big dreams. After several years as a student at our partner organization, 3 Mariposas Montessori, she graduated from their programs to programs at the Mariposa Center for Girls and a scholarship to a private elementary school. She is receiving high-quality education and empowerment programs from an early age, which will exponentially increase her opportunities in life.
Erika joined Mariposa two years ago and hasn’t missed a day since. Erika lives with her sister, nieces and nephews since her father died and her mother abandoned the family. As the youngest child, her father instilled in her the importance of education because he was disappointed that none of her siblings finished their studies. She has taken this message to heart, dedicating herself to school and Mariposa programs with enthusiasm in his memory.