ABOUT SOY NIÑA, SOY IMPORTANTE
Soy niña, soy importante is an initiative developed by Fundación Tropicalia in 2013, and supports at-risk girls with a simple mission: protect their childhood, guide them in making timely life choices, and educate them and their community regarding their rights. Soy niña, soy importante fulfills its mission via different action areas, including a summer camp, an at-home program, teen empowerment, and activism, which consists of communication campaigns and civic participation, all which are implemented in the Dominican Republic, with a geographic focus on the municipality of Miches in the province of El Seibo.
The Soy niña, soy importante summer camp has been our flagship program since 2013, where the girls of Miches access a fun and safe space where they can simply be girls and dream up their future. Camp activities are recreational and contain transformational messages that challenge girls to believe in themselves, and hone in on their potential, map out a life plan and make timely choices.
The summer camp is held every year during the months of July and August in different schools of the Miches School District 12-04.
SNSI in a Box is a program that delivers the transformational messaging of Soy niña, soy importante directly to our girls’ homes by packaging fun, educational activities in a box.
The thematic boxes contain guides, didactic materials, snacks and surprises so that they can learn while playing from the comfort of their homes. Upon delivering boxes, families and girls receive a brief introduction to its contents, encouraging the participation of the entire family in their girl’s experience.
Our Teen Empowerment initiatives support 13-15 year old girls as they enter the height of their adolescence. We build partnerships and bring resources to Miches that continue to develop girls’ knowledge about their reproductive health, educational opportunities and future planning so that they make timely decisions, like postponing pregnancy or early unions. Most of the girls that participate in our Teen Empowerment initiatives are graduates of our SNSI Camp or SNSI in a Box programs.
Through the Soy niña, soy importante platform, Fundación Tropicalia launches various communications campaigns and encourages civic participation in efforts to: raise awareness regarding the plight of the Dominican girl and woman; actively contribute to the elimination of gender violence and child abuse; and, promote more inclusive communities, in which children, adolescents and women can grow and empower themselves without fear.
In partnership with our allies, our awareness and activism campaigns are centered around calls to action, in which each individual plays a role in protecting women and girls’ rights.
About Fundación Tropicalia
Established in 2008 by Tropicalia, a sustainable tourism and real estate development of Cisneros Real Estate, Fundacion Tropicalia drives sustainable, socioeconomic development in the town of Miches by implementing programs for the local community in four key areas: the environment, education, productivity, and socio-cultural advocacy. We engage local stakeholders and establish multi-sector partnerships to develop innovative, high-impact programs and identify shared-value opportunities, tailoring solutions to the most pressing social problems in the region. Throughout the years we’ve impacted more than 10,000 people in Miches directly or indirectly.
AN AWARD-WINNING PROGRAM
Latinoamérica Verde, 2019. Soy niña, soy importante was selected among the 500 best programs in the region by 2019 Latinoamérica Verde Awards. This platform exhibits different social initiatives in the region, classified into 10 categories aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals.
SABER Awards Latin America, 2019. Soy niña, soy importante won in the Caribbean category for its communication and outreach strategy.
Silver STEVIE Award, 2019. Silver in the category of NGO and Social Causes Communications Campaigns and Public Relations.
iNOVA, 2019. Silver in the Non-profit Campaign and Corporate Social Responsibility categories.
- REDUCA, 2016. Soy niña, soy importante was recognized by the Latin American Network for Education (REDUCA) as "Best Innovative Practice in Inclusive Education".
- Ethical Corporation, 2013. Soy niña, soy importante was shortlisted as a finalist in the category "Most Effective Domestic Community Investment" among more than 400 candidates from all over the world.
"The girls of Miches today are the young women, mothers, business owners and community leaders of tomorrow. They will play a fundamental role in breaking generational poverty cycles, and forging a new path toward prosperity in our community."
OUR IMPACT FROM THE START
US Dollars Raised
Fundación Tropicalia founded the SNSI summer camp in 2013. During this pilot phase, we served 100 girls aged 10 to 15 and soon learned that 15% of our campers were already married, divorced, had been pregnant, or were mothers; we quickly realized that our preventive curriculum was reaching these girls too late. In 2014, we adjusted the camper age group to 9 through 12 years old and also increased the number of participants to 250. With this increase came additional funding as we introduced a company-wide fundraiser and matching-gift program with the Cisneros Organization in the United States, working with fiscal sponsors Friends of Educa and Dominican Foundation.
In 2015 we launched the SNSI website and launched Friends of Fundación Tropicalia in partnership with our fiscal sponsor The Ocean Foundation, effectively allowing us to fundraise online. By 2016, we began SNSI’s social media accounts and attracted new funding partners, raising our international profile.
Our volunteer program has also seen an evolution. During the first year of camp we worked with local volunteers and schoolteachers. As the camp grew, and to widen the girls’ interaction with outside resources, we began recruiting volunteers from Santo Domingo--mostly professional Dominican women who take personal vacation time to be with our girls. Their participation adds unexpected and tremendous value to SNSI.
In 2017, we reached a record of more than 300 girls in three camp sessions. In addition, we launched our Ambassador’s Network to support fundraising and awareness efforts. In November of the same year, and in commemoration of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, we organized the conference, Gender Equality in Dominican Republic: Rights and Opportunities, which received support from UN Women and the Dominican Ministry of Women.
In 2019, we began structuring our camp content around a specific theme and objective – My identity, wealth of my people. Establishing a conceptual theme to our program enabled us to increase girls’ engagement, awareness and acceptance of their value, culture, identity and ultimately their self-esteem as they move toward becoming agents of change for their communities and families.
With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, we restructured camp in 2020 in order to accommodate the realities of social distancing and launched SNSI in a Box, delivering the magic of camp directly to our girls’ doorsteps and helping them overcome the challenges presented by extended periods of confinement and isolation. Each box explored a specific topic that’s especially relevant to our girls’ lives during the pandemic, like how to improve their biosafety, define their long term goals, and understand their rights and options for reporting abuse or violence.
Today, Soy nina, soy importante is a box, a camp, an awareness campaign. We are a multi-tiered initiative that supports at-risk girls with a simple mission: protect their childhood, guide them in making timely life choices, and educate them and their community regarding their rights in order to achieve their dreams.