I will never forget my first summer in Chiquilá—the summer we started the Institute.

Unbeknownst to me, two of the girls in our Institute were bitter enemies. By the third week, the tension within our group was palpable, and hours before our theatrical performance the veiled cordiality broke down completely.

I attempted to navigate the girls’ situation—learning then that one of our students had felt rejected by the other girls in our group. And while we did end up performing together, the hostility lingered. 

Fast forward to our final week. On one of our final evenings, we sat together as a group and spent time sharing, encouraging each other, and opening up about our summer experience. In the final moments of the evening, both girls stood up, apologized to each other, and embraced.

They mutually confessed that they felt like sisters, not merely friends, after everything that they had learned together over the summer.

This story is at the heart of what I believe is the underlying joy of our work at Hands Offering Hope. 

And it is a story that you can join today. Support Young Women

Authentic relationships are the catalyst for transformation—not just for ourselves but for entire communities. It is within the framework of friendship that we allow ourselves to open up to others, listen to different perspectives, and feel the most known.

The Hands Offering Hope Women’s Collective is designed to weave together new friendships between women who come from very different walks of life and different sides of the globe.

I am thrilled we are taking this next step as an organization to break down the multi-dimensional barriers that block our female students from developing the self-confidence to pursue their dreams.

And I am so excited to invite you to be a part of it by creating space for female students to join our Women’s Summit this summer. 

For the great things ahead, 

Rachel Gawlak
Institute Co-Founder
Director, Hands Offering Hope Women’s Collective