When I first came to Ecuador, I thought I was brave. I was making this huge jump into the unknown, and I was proud of myself for making a bold choice and following through.
But it wasn’t my own bravery that ended up changing my life. On the contrary, I soon realized that the dozens of Ecuadorian women I met while working at Hearts of Gold, a grassroots non-profit, would leave a much deeper impression on my soul. I felt silly for my pride and overwhelmed with admiration for these women, all of whom are leaders in their communities.
As to be expected, life in Ecuador has its differences. Ecuador, like many regions of the world, is a male-dominated society, that’s for sure. But it is also one that is full of female warriors, fighting every day to make their communities better.
Hearts of Gold is a small Ecuadorian nonprofit started by a group of expats, where I started working in 2014. I quickly met women who left me stunned with their strength. These women take care of their communities, even though nobody asks them to and despite limited support or formal training.
I met Maribel, Rocio, Priscila, Miriam, Maria Fernanda, Cari, Marisol, Lorena, and many more Ecuadorian women whose selflessness and passion have guided each of them to help hundreds in need, year after year: children, cancer patients, people with special needs, families, survivors of domestic violence, and many others. If they didn’t, many of these people would have nowhere to turn — a thought that persistently reminds me just how important it is to support these community leaders.
After a few months at Hearts of Gold, we saw potential to serve these women in more ways. Sure, our team had designed a capacity-building program for nonprofit leaders, many of whom were starting to reap its benefits — that was great. But we couldn’t help but think: was it a coincidence that 93% of those nonprofit leaders were women? Were there more aspiring female leaders out there, in need of support? If so, how could we reach them?
Then it hit us: what our community needed from us now was an organization that would find those aspiring female entrepreneurs and activists, and those women who simply want to make a difference in their lives, and help them realize their full potential.
Which brings us now to Mírame. Hearts of Gold, in partnership with a collective of local women, has launched a new program that empowers Ecuadorian women through access to education and training, mentoring, networking, and competitive access to micro-funding for social initiatives.
Mírame means “watch me” -- watch me live, watch me strive, watch me succeed.
My vision is for this project to take off in Ecuador and, in doing so, form a tribe of women who want to support, guide, and empower other female-identified people.
I’m confident that this is only the beginning of a beautiful story, in which we help women with dreams make lasting impacts on their communities — and help them follow those changes all the way through.
This program is dedicated to the women who have taught me so much about resilience and what it means to genuinely give from the heart.
This project Mírame is up for competitive international funding by GlobalGiving in honor of International Women’s Day. This competition gives us the chance to be awarded an additional $24,000, a full year of funding for the program, for having the most donors.
If you believe in helping women thrive, I ask you to make a contribution today with a one-time donation of $10 or more. Each $10 donation is a vote for the project and in turn a vote for the type of world you want to live in- one where women empower other women.
Your gift today will bring us closer to funding the launch of this new program, and to winning the competition for most donors. Thank you for listening to my story, and thank you for shining a spotlight on female leaders in Ecuador who bring hope, passion, and determination to this country and its communities in need
Our website: http://heartsofgoldfoundation.org/
Our Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/heartsofgoldecuador
From Our Hearts to Yours,