Nicaragua - Paso Pacifico -
Run by Women - Empowering Women and Girls
AND Saving the Earth
During February, Lulu, 17, and I explored the wondrous work of Paso Pacifico, a not for profit founded and run by two phenomenal women - Sarah Otterstrom and Liza Gonzales - who both cherished the dry forest, the Pacific ocean and coastline, the endangered turtles and monkeys and birds threatened by climate change, deforestation and more.
When people think about conservation and want to do good - take action to save wildlife, the environment and the planet, they often overlook these effective, moving small grassroots charities. These are the folks - with no funding for colorful PR and marketing campaigns and paid grant writers - doing the hard work of transforming hearts and minds of locals, respecting and training them to overcome poverty and hunger - NOT by cutting down trees or over-fishing - but by eco-tourism. They give them the gift of learning how to earn money by partnering with their fragile natural resources - the magical forest, the endangered turtles vital to biodiversity, the engaging and vulnerable monkeys and birds.
During Women's History Month and just a few weeks after International Women's Day, we must mention what they do for girls. Listen to Hilary, 14, and Nicole, 13, below.
Even if you don't speak Spanish - here's the message! Two girls growing up in an impoverished village on Nicaraguan's Pacific Coast - one born when the mom - now employed by Paso Pacifico -was only 16. Nicole wants to be doctor, and Hilary a biologist. They are girl rangers, trained by Paso Pacifico, who guard and protect vulnerable baby turtles, keep the beaches clean, identify the multitude of birds and wildlife. In other words, they just rock!
Here's a few seconds of our walk in the forest with the Junior Rangers of Paso Pacifico. See the monkeys? Those are exotic birds you hear.