Chicas Poderosas: Helping our girls reach their potential
Marisela, a high-school pequeña, reflects on the impact the Girls Empowerment Group has had on her life at NPH.
February 9, 2017 - Mexico
According to the United Nations, there are over 1.1 billion girls in the world today. Some of these girls are eager to show off their talents. They are girls yearning to achieve their dreams, girls like Marisela*.
Marisela is an energetic, 19-year old who just finished up her first semester at the high school in Cuernavaca. She came to NPH from Mexico City where she experienced family and economic problems. She is grateful for NPH because it offered her an opportunity to escape the streets and enjoy a better life.
When not participating in track, or hanging out with friends, Marisela attends Chicas Poderosas, a girl’s empowerment group that meets once a week at Casa Buen Señor. The purpose of Chicas Poderosas is to teach confidence, respect, and healthy living through various activities and workshops. Since joining the Chicas Poderosas group, Marisela has learned the importance of respect, improved her interpersonal skills with the other girls in her grade level, and has felt truly at peace with herself and her life. “I look forward to going to Chicas Poderosas because it helps me realize who I am as a person and how I can achieve my highest potential.”
In the future, Marisela would like to become a veterinarian. Her dream is to rescue dogs from the streets and give them a loving home. In order to achieve her goals, Marisela knows that there are several obstacles facing women in society that she must first overcome. In Mexico, the machismo attitude is still prevalent. Machismo stereotypes women as weak, inferior beings who are incapable of doing the same things as men. Marisela knows that she will face challenges in the work force such as less pay, because she will be seen as less intelligent compared to her male colleagues. However, Marisela says she will overcome any limit that society may place on her by “always having confidence in herself.”
Marisela is already on the path to success as demonstrated by her extraordinary leadership skills. She is one of the oldest girls in her grade, and the younger girls look up to her for guidance. Marisela listens to their troubles and offers advice based on her own experiences. “I always try to remind my peers that the bad in life can change for the better. I know this is true because it already has for me.”
Marisela is a strong, talented young woman. With the combination of Marisela's natural determination and the values she has acquired in Chicas Poderosas, she has a promising future ahead.
*Name changed for privacy purposes.