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Perla inspires me.

Here are three things you need to know about Perla:

  1. She’s a natural leader. During the last week of the Institute, we built a “company” to learn business and marketing skills — and Perla stepped right into the manager role. She had her team working like a well-oiled machine in no time!
  2. She’s an amazingly talented artist. In her words, “Painting is my passion. It’s what I love more than anything.” And she has the art to show for it.
  3. She’s an absolute spitfire. She has boundless energy and vision and enthusiasm. She dreams about improving her small town of Solferino, and, unsurprisingly, she has already started doing just that. (Make sure you’re following along on Facebook and Instagram this week to see the amazing project Perla just did in the local elementary school!)

But here’s what else you should know: Like so many of her peers, Perla has faced serious challenges. She has struggled with low self-esteem, and she knows what the world expects of her.

“Typically, in my community, girls go to primary school and maybe secondary school,” she said. “And then what? Sometime in secondary school, they quit. They go off with a boyfriend. And it’s sad because it’s not a good choice. They might just go with the first boy who likes them — because a lot of girls have low self-esteem. They don’t know that they are someone who could keep going. So they end up at home, taking care of the house. They get pregnant when they’re still young. They just stop. And it’s sad.”

Perla believes that there must be another way. And we’re doing everything we can to support her as she pursues the Road Less Traveled.

Perla dreams of finishing high school and going to college. She also wants to keep getting better at her art.

“I want to do both — I want to study AND paint. And when I finish school, I want to build a Cultural Center in my community. A place where kids can come try new things and create a new vision for themselves. Maybe other kids will find something they love, too. They’ll discover something good. Something helpful for their futures. They’ll learn that this isn’t the end of their road.”

Perla is choosing a brave, bold path — and we are honored to walk alongside her. Your support ensures that girls like Perla can build their self-confidence, stay in school, and craft their own narrative for their future.