Mariposa DR Foundation concentrates on the education and empowerment of women and young girls living in extreme poverty in Dominican Republic, to help meet the Millennium Development Goals set out by the United Nations.

I began working for the organization after spending two years living in a small community in the Dominican Republic as a Peace Corps volunteer. I believe that the Foundation is addressing one of the most important and overlooked demographics in the DR–adolescent girls. I was attracted to their work which is building a stronger community and future for the town of Cabarete.

Unleashing the Leader in a Girl is a photo essay that documents the current challenges of girls and young women in the Dominican Republic. It also shares images of the opportunities that are provided by organizations such as the Mariposa Foundation. This work has had a profound effect on me by enabling me to witness and assist in the transformation of young Dominican’s lives. Together, with my photography and the message of the organization, we have reached over 10,000 people– sharing the story of these girls and fundraising for their future.