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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Mariposa Flies to Granada

Three adventurous Grinnellians will be heading south for Spring Break, but not to the beaches of Florida, or the Caribbean, or even Cancun. Instead, Anna Banker, ’15, Louisa Silverman ’15 and Silva Foster-Frau ’15 will spend their spring break in Granada, Nicaragua, working to empower young women through the creation of a women’s group. Although not the typical spring vacation destination, Banker, who organized the trip, explained her connection to the location.

“The reason we are going to Granada is because I spent a summer there working with the Mariposa foundation and have been in touch with women in the community ever since,”  Banker said.

When Banker told Silverman, about her previous experiences in Granada, the trip was born.

“Originally, we were just talking about it, and when it became apparent that we both wanted to do it, we finally just said, ‘Let’s go!’”

Foster-Frau ’15, another friend, found out about the idea and eagerly joined the Spring Break adventure.

However, the group plans to do much more than catch a few rays on this mid-March trip. They hope to work to improve the station of women within Latin American culture, in which young women are targeted, evidenced by high rates of abuse, sexual assault, prostitution, sexually transmitted diseases including AIDS, among other issues. They intend to begin a group targeting young women ages 12-17 to discuss some of these important topics, raise awareness, and build confidence among the women. Although the girls will only be there for a short time, the Banker said that their main desire is to establish solidarity with the women.

“What is important for me is to break the cycle of women disempowerment. We are going down there to give them attention, to show them that they matter and to help them develop more confidence as women,” Banker said.

Being a college student, Silverman continued, is also another advantage.

“I think we will be able to connect with them, being near their age,” she said.

This trip will not only provide the three Grinnellians with a chance to affect real change on a human level,  but it will serve as a pilot project for the Mariposa Pioneeras student group which hopes to conduct trips like this one in the future. Through Mariposa, the group members hope to raise awareness about the plight of women in Latin America. They hope to share their experiences upon their return to campus through presentations and increasing campus awareness.

Although all three Mariposa members expressed excitement for the work they will be conducting in Granada, they were slightly disappointed that the funds for the trip will need to be entirely sourced independently, following a rejection from SGA.

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