A project for women empowerment in Latin America

Clarissa Rios Rojas
Posted June 29, 2016 from Peru
Logo of Ekpapalek: Empowering Latin students – Professional development in your hands
(Figure 1: Logo of Ekpapalek Women - Empowering Latinas)
(Figure 1: Logo of Ekpapalek Women - Empowering Latinas) (1/6)

There is a big problem in Latin America, which is the lack of resources (money), knowledge and opportunities for professional development. In order to find a solution to this problem, I launched a non-profit called Ekpapalek last year. Our mission is to empower Latin students through free programs that promote their professional development and in that way contribute to the social and economic development of Latin American countries.

One of those programs is called ‘Ekpapalek Women’ and focuses on empowering Latin American women by re-writing the current women’s role models. We think that:

“You can’t become what you can’t see”,

Hence, we bring a series of talks and workshops about women economic empowerment to secondary schools and institutions in LatinAmerica. Our events are presented entirely by professional women so the attendees can see and interact with their mentors, which we aim to become their new role models.

Our team is composed of highly trained and experience professional women: Mariella (Molecular Biologist), Enma (Medical Doctor), Carmen (Professor at University), Blanca (Acuiculture Engineer) and I (Molecular Biologist). We are committed to share and teach from our experiences during our academic journey (successes and obstacles) and in that way motivate girls to become agents of change or “changemakers” in their communities.

We also talk about the benefits of becoming an economical empowered women and invite them to work towards the empowerment of more women through the creation of "women’s collectives" so they can meet and talk about the status of women in their community.

Our workshops aim to awaken their curiosity, their dreams of independence and ideas of entrepreneurship. Depending on the community’s need, we offer the following workshops:

- Mini business with ornamental plants. (We aim to create entrepreneurs)

- Health and sexual education (special attention on gender violence, how to recognize it and denounce it)

- How to build a movement of women's empowerment (Women collectives)

- Women Economic Empowerment presentations for Universities, Institutions and Organizations.

Using a series of talks and workshops presented by professional women we aim to empower women by igniting young girl’s professional curiosity and desire to venture to new horizons of personal development.

Also, we are very active online by writing articles about women empowerment in our blog and also by creating online campaigns where we promote awareness about gender equality. For example, in order to open an honest discussion about the parenthood roles in LatinAmerica, we decided to launch the campaign #LatinFamilies2016. With this campaign we aim to show a realistic visual representation of Latin-American parenthood in 2016. We collect pictures of fathers who enjoy great relationships with their children by spending more time with them and in turn we also show mothers that spend time working while parenting. We think that these images must be accessible and easily disseminated so that everyone can get inspired.

Our latest campaign "Ekpapalek women influencers"a new initiative for women empowerment in LatinAmerica: "Ekpapalek Mujeres influencers". Based on the quote "You can not become what you can not see," we decided to show videos of women leaders in Latin America. We hope that our videos will encourage more girls and boys to pursue a career by feeling inspired by these awesome women role models. Help us spreading our scope of action by sharing our initiative!


Please visit us at:

- Website: www.ekpapalek.com/programa-mujeres

(If you use Chrome you can “translate page” and read it in English)

- Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/ekpapalekmujeres/

The name Ekpa’palek is taken from an indigenous language called “Shiwilu” from the Peruvian jungle and means ‘to help a person walking.’

Comments 2

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Tamarack Verrall
Jun 30, 2016
Jun 30, 2016

Dear Clarissa,

This is such a beautifully thought out program, so full of information, inspiration and opportunity for discussion with young women. I love the motto: “You can’t become what you can’t see”. One of the most encouraging parts is the collaboration of so many talented women for the benefit of young girls. That you have been able to offer this in schools is a giant leap. Writing about it here will no doubt be welcomed as a blueprint for others to create similar programs. All the best with your continued work.

In Sisterhood,


Enmita Marin
Jul 01, 2016
Jul 01, 2016

I really enjoy to be part of this program!

thanks Clarissa for let me be part of Ekpapalek!