Girl Empowerment

Through Peruvian Hearts I have learned that if I make a mistake I can correct it. I have self-esteem and I love myself so I can overcome problems. I have more confidence in myself. I feel like I am a leader with children at the Mother Teresa home, and when I do things to help other people.

— “Lady,” Peruvian Hearts Scholar

Every girl has the right to receive an education and dream of a brighter future. This is the underlying foundation and core philosophy of Peruvian Hearts.

Girl from the hogar


Providing girls with an education is one of the most effective ways to end to global poverty. Hundreds of millions of girls in countries all around the world don’t have the opportunity to attend school. Whether it’s due to cultural norms or the inability of families to afford an education for their daughters, girls without education normally marry young and go on to perform unskilled household labor. As is the case in many other countries, Peruvian girls are devalued. The number of girls who are kept home from school by their parents in rural communities in Peru is nearly double that of urban areas. Education provides these girls with the opportunity to break the cycle of poverty and make a better life for themselves and their families.


Our education and mentorship programs empower adolescent girls in Peru to become strong women and strong leaders in their families, communities, and country. When a girl remains in school, her education helps her to become a productive community member in the workforce and at home. Educated girls increase their earning potential, which is reinvested in their family and community. They marry later and have fewer and healthier children. These girls understand that education is important and will ensure that their own children are educated as well. Education makes it possible for these girls to grow into women who have the tools to create opportunities for themselves and future generations.

Gender Equality

Peruvian Hearts is committed to supporting the Millennium Development Goals by providing girls with opportunities for education, service, and leadership. One of the Millennium Development Goals set by the United Nations is “… to promote gender equality and empower women.” Their target is to “… eliminate gender disparity in primary and secondary education, preferably by 2005, and in all levels of education no later than 2015.” Peruvian Hearts supports this goal through its Peruvian Promise Scholars program and secondary school program for younger girls.

Reasons for Hope

Without education and empowerment, girls have fewer options.

  • A girl who does not receive an education is more likely to be a child bride, contract HIV or AIDS, and continue the cycle of poverty with her own children. (Nike Foundation).
  • One in seven girls in the developing world will be married before the age of 15.
  • In rural Peru, only 36 percent of girls graduate from secondary school.
  • Ninety percent of girls say they want to be leaders, but only 21 percent believe that they have the qualities required for leadership (Girl Scouts’ 2008 Change it Up survey).
  • When a woman earns an income she will reinvest 90 percent in her family, whereas a man will reinvest only 35 percent in his family (UNICEF).
  • If a girl has seven or more years of education, she will marry four years later and have 2.2 fewer children (UNICEF).
  • An educated woman is much more likely to send her children to school and take them to the doctor (UNICEF).
  • When 10 percent more girls go to secondary school, the country’s economy tends to grow by 3 percent (UNICEF).
  • Educated girls tend to be more productive at home and better paid in the workplace, and more able to participate in social, economic, and political decision-making (UNICEF).

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