GRATITUDE FOR GOOD
A Blog by Gratitude Alliance
By Silvia Vasquez-Lavado (Co-Founder Emeritus of The Gracias Foundation.
Reposted from The Gracias Foundation, now called Global Gratitude Alliance)
Being of service is a behavior my mother (Mama Telle) taught me from a young age. I have been blessed to have inherited her heartfelt compassion for others in need. Even though during my childhood I experienced a very painful chapter of sexual molestation, I managed to survive and was extremely lucky to receive a scholarship to study in the US and have the opportunity to create a new life and heal from my shaming wounds.
In the early 2000s, as I became heavily involved with my mother’s project in the Andes, I had a massive awakening during a solidarity trip to DR Congo in 2009. In Peru, I had grown up amidst a period of violence and extreme economic depression during the 80’s. However, the extreme poverty from those times couldn’t compare to the absolute hard environment I experienced in the Congo.
During my visit, I was able to connect with Juvenile, a brave local Social-Entrepreneur who gave all of himself to create a safe place for former child-soldiers and street girls to rehabilitate through music and education. Unfortunately for Juvenile, he didn’t have the means and was too small to get exposure as an International NGO. His passion, courage and commitment inspired me to think of creating an organization that will empower the hardworking local Social-Entrepreneurs who like Juvenile are making a difference to their communities in spite of their hard local conditions.
As Amy and I joined in our vision and determination, The Gracias Foundation was formed as US based non-profit that seeks to empower and improve the lives of women and children by supporting local projects and changemakers in some of the poorest, most vulnerable areas of the world.
It is also my commitment to work with the little girls and boys who have also suffered the same unfortunate circumstances I experienced; hence I am currently in the process of developing a US-based program to address the healing of their traumas and to restore their possibilities of living a full and shame-free life.