“When kids are given access to quality education, safe spaces, mentorship, and a community that believes in them, we can unlock their potential and really transform lives," said Celina de Sola. The founder of Glasswing International, a non-profit dedicated to empowering Latin American youth and communities to address the root causes of poverty and violence, was speaking at the charity’s fourth annual gala last year, and now, marking eleven years since its foundation, Glasswing is proud to announce that its work has helped transform the lives of over one million people.
Latin America is home to just 8% of the world’s population, but 33% of its homicides and widespread exposure to chronic and acute violence has led to high rates of trauma, perpetuating violence. Combined with chronic poverty, social and economic exclusion, gender inequality and a lack of educational and employment opportunities, the region faces what to some may seem like insurmountable challenges. However, drawing on her experiences as a former humanitarian aid worker, de Sola saw an opportunity to combine an international perspective with a hands-on, grassroots approach to transform vulnerable communities, and thanks to incredible support from a range of donors and partners, including Carmen, Glasswing now works with communities not only across Latin America, but in the Caribbean and New York City too.
The charity’s success stems from its focus on Community Schools. By transforming public schools into centers of community, Glasswing extends the school day with learning and recreational opportunities to ensure kids are off the streets and engaged in safe activities that promote positive development, foster variety and quality of learning and improve academic outcomes and conduct. Programs are also aimed at equipping students with core social and emotional skills and competencies; support mental health, and foster a strong social network and support system. By empowering students, and ensuring safe and supportive environments for them to thrive in, absenteeism is reduced, as is the likelihood of dropping out.
Since launching in 2007, 398,000 participants have enrolled in Glasswing’s education programs, 276,000 in community public health services, 6,330 in youth entrepreneurship and employability schemes, and 279,000 have taken part in public space revitalization programs. Glasswing has also successfully mobilized over 100,000 volunteers, from both corporations and across communities, who have dedicated their time and expertise.
Read more about Glasswing’s work here, where if you are able you can also donate.