GRADUATION IS THE GATEWAY TO IMPACT
When we graduate women from our programs, a group of empowered women re-enter the local economy as change-agents. They go forward with resources and knowledge, prepared to develop their communities. Graduation also gives us the opportunity to provide life-changing services to a new group vulnerable women and their families. On February 20th we honored the most recent group of graduates from our project in Peru with a night full of feasts, celebration and rumination. We asked our Peruvian team to reflect on what this meant for them. Patricia Namanny, KK Peru's Country Director, summarized their responses in a short letter and it's too good not share. Enjoy!
"Graduation is the end and the beginning of a certain time of our life. When we graduate we celebrate, we make plans for the future, we focused in what’s next. We feel encouraged, powerful, and capable of doing great things. All the memories of the challenges we had to overcome pale in comparison to the pride we take in the fact that we’ve overcome them.
Last week, we had a group of women graduate from KK Peru, and in doing so, made the transition away from the services we provide for them. As I see them spreading their wings, I’m struck by everything they’ve accomplished. They are now powerful women full of joy and laughter, but it wasn’t always like this. As a matter of fact it was quite the opposite - the road these women traveled was full of challenges, confusion and frustration.
When they joined the program they were at a very vulnerable stage in their lives. Each one was wrestling with a unique set of problems that were holding them back. More often than not they were reduced to the role that women are expected to play in our culture. One of the great tragedies of our world is that no one encouraged them to follow their passions and become what they were created to be. Sometimes you just want to shake them and say,
'Open your eyes wide girlfriend because you’ve missing out! Put on your shoes and go take on the world!'
To kick-start the empowerment process we start by helping women recognize who they really are. We let them know that it’s ok to have hope, dreams, and expectations for life. As mentors, we offer all kinds of tools that help them set achievable goals but most important we offer a relationship. It’s this relationship that is the foundation for empowerment.
The product of all the time we invest in their personal growth is a woman who follows her dreams. She lives to celebrate life in all its shades because there is always a learning opportunity at every crossroad. She is strategic. She is powerful. She is capable of all things despite everything pulling her back. These are the women who graduated from KK Peru a few weeks ago.
As I see this year’s graduates walk away, my heart is filled with excitement for what is next. I can’t even imagine all the amazing things they will do for themselves, their family wellbeing and their communities."