Hello, my name is Vanessa Martinez and I was born and raised in Florida.
About two years ago I made the decision to fulfill a growing sense of responsibility to make a meaningful contribution to the world, and to dedicate myself to making a positive impact in the lives of others less fortunate. So I packed my bags to join in the global struggle for girls’ and women’s rights.
I don’t know about you, but I grew up with a lot of opportunities. I got to play with instruments, draw, paint, and participate in sports. I had a world of opportunity right at my fingertips just because I was fortunate enough to live in a place where I could go to school. I was encouraged to learn and ask questions, to think, and to express my opinions. Most girls here in Nepal don’t have that. They rarely get to try something new, participate in a sport, exercise their creativity, or be a part of a team. Despite a rich and vibrant culture of traditional music, most families do not have the resources to buy instruments or pay for lessons, so most girls never have the opportunity to play or learn music. Many girls in Nepal do not have a voice in their home or society, and are discouraged from pursuing an education.
The area I work in in Nepal is considered one of the most critical zones for girls’ discrimination and child marriage. It also has the highest rates of female illiteracy. Without education, their cycles of poverty, malnourishment, and child marriage are endlessly perpetuated.
When I began my volunteer work in Nepal, I was immediately struck by the girls’ enthusiasm for learning. Despite the hardships they face in their homes and communities, the girls at Karuna Girls School come smiling and so eager to learn.
I think it’s time we share some of the resources we have with the rest of the world, so I designed two projects to empower and engage students in learning and creative expression: An art and music program and a journalism program.
Please consider supporting these efforts. Donations will be used to pay for instruments, school supplies and equipment, the printing of our new school and community newspaper, a fieldtrip to Kathmandu to meet professional journalists, and what is left will help me with my transportation as an unpaid volunteer.
Thank you for your generosity,