Glamour Magazine Honors CARE Project Participant

Glamour Magazine Honors CARE Project Participant

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Ana Cecilia Cortez Flies to NYC from Honduras to accept award

It was the trip of a lifetime.

On Friday, Ana Cecilia Cortez, 15 years old, flew from her small farming town in Honduras all the way to New York City.

A star pupil and the student government president at the school CARE helped her town build, Ana was honored at a Glamour Magazine event as part of the magazine’s new global philanthropic initiative, The Girl Project.

The Girl Project was launched in partnership with CARE and three other non-profit organizations, Plan International USA, Girls Inc., and Communities in Schools. It aims to raise funds to break down the barriers to secondary education for young women all over the world.

The New York Times broke the story about Glamour’s new initiative yesterday. In the article, Cindy Leive, Glamour’s editor and chief, said the magazine started the project in part because of recent world events, including the girls kidnapped from their school in Nigeria and the many schools damaged in Gaza.

Ana was one of 10 schoolgirls from around the world presented as “The Bravest Girls in the World” during Glamour’s prestigious Women of the Year event for their courage and fortitude in pursuing an education against incredible odds.

Ana was also chosen to be interviewed by journalist Katie Couric to share the obstacles that she faced to get an education. She explained that in her native Honduras, education is often given to boys, rather than girls, as a “privilege” and parents are often afraid to send their daughters away for an education.

Ana was thrilled to be in New York City and particularly enjoyed meeting her co-honorees who hailed from places as far away as the Democratic Republic of Congo.

“I feel proud to represent the girls of my country and other girls around the world” she said. “Now I feel like they are not only my friends but my family.”

The brave title is fitting for Ana. Raised in San Isidro, the daughter of a family that farms corn, vegetables and coffee, she has four brothers and is the youngest. Her tight-knit family nearly broke apart a few years ago when their house caught on fire. Ana’s father was badly burned and unable to work for several months. Teachers and other community members collected donations to help her family get through those difficult times.

These days Ana gives back to her community. She tutors two older adults after school.

At school, she’s a leader too. Last year, her schoolmates elected her as president of the student government. She garnered 75 percent of the votes from the 404 of 507 students who cast a ballot.

CARE and the Ministry of Education built Ana’s school in 1976.

More recently, in San Isidro, CARE’s “Educan” program has helped school-age children fulfill their rights to a quality education and adequate nutrition, as well as strengthened the livelihoods of parents. CARE trained teachers to improve classroom performance and taught children and parents about good nutrition and how to initiate school improvement projects. CARE also helped families increase their income by forming microfinance groups and training them on business and marketing.