Marili: “A Woman Must Always Make Her Voice Heard”

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Marili reflects on gender equality and tells us how she learned to promote it in her daily life with the assistance of NPH Peru.

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5 Apr 2023

NPH Peru continues to work with the firm commitment to provide spaces where girls feel safe, trust in the unrestricted respect of their rights and feel empowered to achieve their goals. Access to a more equitable quality education, and the accompaniment and guidance of our professionals to strengthen their presence and active participation in their communities are our main pillars.

Marili is 16 years old. She joined the NPH Peru family in July 2015 with his younger brother Merary. Marili is in fifth grade of “Victor Manuel Murtua” high school and she is currently a beneficiary of our One Family reintegration program. She and her brother left the NPH Peru home last year and moved to the city of Ica, a city located almost 150 km from Cañete, to reintegrate with their grandmother and aunts.

She was born in Lima, but just a few days later, she and her family moved to Ica with her father’s relatives. The children were in the care of their maternal aunt, but lived in the same house as their mother, who was diagnosed with schizophrenia. For this reason, she was sent with her children to a welfare institution.

A New Beginning

On July 13, 2015, the judicial authorities ordered the transfer of Marili and her brother to NPH Peru. Marili has received constant comprehensive care since she arrived at the NPH Peru home. Like all the other children and youth, she is provided with services focused on education, medical care, food and clothing in a safe environment, with unconditional love and support from her caregivers, psychologists and social workers.

Marili recalls that, when she and her brother arrived, she was greeted by many girls who wanted to play with her. “What I remember most is that there were a lot of toys, I had never seen so many toys. There were several boys and girls who greeted us at dinner time. We ate and then we started to play,” she recounts.

Since she was a child, she always stood out for being a responsible student and excelled in sports. Through different workshops and extracurricular activities at NPH Peru, she has developed skills in sports such as football and athletics. In fact, she is often a member of his school’s football team and also participates in track and field competitions.

Academically, Marili’s grades are good. She always wants to complete her homework in an outstanding manner in order to obtain the highest grades and acquire new knowledge. She often turns to her caregivers or other NPH Peru collaborators to solve any doubts or problems she may have with her homework. She likes to learn more by researching and she often complete crossword puzzles when she finishes her homework.

One of her caregivers, Lucy Morón, who has known Marili very well since she was a child, highlights some of her qualities: “Marili is a teenager with many positive qualities. For example, she is very perseverant in her studies, enjoys reading, is an excellent athlete, and shows her affection and respect for the caregivers and workers of NPH Peru. She is talented and excels at communicating loquaciously, doing so naturally and creatively. She is always willing to help and does so with a good attitude that is contagious to her peers.”

Next year, Marili will start her university studies, so she has already started to choose a career. She says she would like to study systems engineering or fashion design. She understands that these two careers are often mistakenly associated only for boys or only for girls. She reflects on the stereotypes present in the choice of university careers: “Stereotypes have to be left behind. One of the careers I would like to study is Systems Engineering, it is usually thought that this career is more oriented for boys and many girls are discouraged for reasons like that and do not dare to follow what they really want. I would also like to study Fashion Design, a career where there are many more girls than boys, and surely many other boys were discouraged to study it for that reason.”

“I attended a sewing workshop with the volunteer occupational therapist at NPH Peru. And just as I enjoy it, I also see that several of my male classmates have the same interest and joy. You do not see this much in public schools, where it is more common for everyone to judge you and, at the end, you give up your interests erroneously. I hope that soon we will not have to talk about these situations, but I know we still have a long way to go”, she concludes.

A Born Leader

Eddy Martinez, social worker of our One Family program, outlines Marili’s leadership qualities: “Marili is often active in internal and external activities organized by her school and NPH Peru. She practices football and athletics with her housemates and is also a member of her school’s football team. In the matches, she always demonstrates leadership attitudes and is the captain of the team. She organizes her teammates on the field and always tries to spread her winning spirit.”

Marili has leadership attitudes and a vocation for service, so she tends to care for others. She demonstrates this by always caring not only for her younger brother Merari, but also for other boys and girls in the home or her school. The sense of equality and fair treatment of everyone is always present in the decisions she makes.

“Whether it’s in small or big situations, I think we have to fight for true equality. And that’s what I try to put into practice every day. For example, whether it’s helping in the kitchen or in farming activities, both boys and girls are capable of doing it.”, she explains. And she completes: “At NPH that’s how it is and I try to bring those attitudes wherever I go.”

Marili also reflects on respect, both to be respected but also to always act with it: “Girls are more likely to be disrespected, to feel harassed. It is important to emphasize that we cannot remain silent, it is time to stop this type of behavior, confront them, either by denouncing them or facing them. But let’s not forget to always act with respect, we cannot react in a rude way just because we are women. We have to make ourselves respected, but also respecting the other. I believe that respect is the other.”

“Women’s rights must be respected, like those of all people. Unfortunately, there are more and more cases of violence against women. Every day we see in the news cases of teenagers who are victims of gender-based violence. We have to act actively from wherever we are to ensure that our rights are respected. To achieve this, we have to know what we want, be informed and not get carried away by what people say or the stereotypes that we bring so ingrained indirectly. A woman must always make her voice heard”, she summarizes.

Marili is a girl who has many talents, but in addition to having them, it is good to highlight the effort she constantly makes to develop and enhance them, taking advantage of all the opportunities that are presented to her, both those provided by NPH and those of her local school. She is a self-confident adolescent and is confident in her potential not only as a student, but also as an active participant and leader in her social circles. She has clear concepts about gender equality and strives to promote it through her daily actions, whether big or small.

Milari’s strength is a great aspect to take into account, in her words she lets us see that she has reserves of courage and has good expectations for her future: “I am not afraid of what may come. Probably, next year I will start college and it may take me some time to get used to this change. I know that willpower is everything and I believe in myself for whatever comes. Whether it’s as a fashion designer or as an engineer, there will always be obstacles I will have to overcome and I will do it with the same desire and determination with which I have come this far.”

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*Names changed to protect child’s privacy.