A WCG lecturer has been invited to the United Nations in New York after a film created by teenagers from her charity in Peru won a global competition.
Juany Murphy – who is originally from Peru, but moved to the UK in 1990 and is a lecturer in Spanish at Royal Leamington Spa College – will be attending the Global HerStory Summit in New York from 19-24 March as a representative of the charity she co-founded in Peru, Otra Cosa. Joining her will be Peruvian teenagers Ruth and Irene and their teacher Carmen Diaz, as well as the charity’s Operations Manager Jenny Kehoe.
The HELP (Huanchaco Education and Learning Programme) Literacy project was set up by Otra Cosa in 2013, with ‘LitClubs’ being set up initially for girls, but due to its success it has now been expanded to include boys as well. It is funded by Litworld, a non-profit organisation which challenges illiteracy worldwide.
Juany explains more, “This project, run with our fantastic teacher, Carmen Diaz, is all about empowering young people in reading and writing. The first ‘LitClub’ began with 15 teenage girls – teaching them literacy and empowerment, compassion, rights and equality. This project was successful so it was replicated in other villages where we now have four clubs.
“We were invited to attend the summit after submitting a video and a proposal for change in our community. With the support of the team and volunteers, Ruth and Irene created this as part of their LitClub. It talks about the scarcity of water in their community, Cerrito de la Virgen, and why they want to change this.
“LitWorld and Global Girls Leading Our World (GLOW) loved the video so much that we are one of a few groups invited to attend the summit – where teams from around the world will aim to create Action Plans for Change. These action plans will be developed into initiatives to be applied in our communities delivering impactful and positive change to women and girls.”
Juany co-founded the charity Otra Cosa Network in 2007 and over the last 10 years the charity has developed many projects in Huanchaco in the highlands of Peru focusing on literacy, English language, the environment and empowering women. She goes there every summer to work and recruits volunteers from the UK to go and support the charity’s work in Peru as well.
She said, “We are very proud and honoured to have achieved this and to be recognised internationally in this global competition.
“It really is life-changing for the girls. Just to get their passport and visa they had to visit Lima, the capital, for the first time – a nine-hour trip – so to visit New York is going to be absolutely amazing. They will attend the summit and learn how to make their project a reality, how to lobby and network with professionals. We are preparing them to be the next leaders of their community and this achievement will help to raise their aspirations even further.
“I am very proud and honoured that the project has been recognised in this way and I am looking forward to showcasing the work we do in Peru.”