In 2009, Gina Chavez and Jodi Granado were teaching English in El Salvador at the Maria Auxiliadora, a Catholic all-girls school that aims to educate the “poorest of the poor.” One day, they asked their senior class who wanted to go to college. Every hand shot up. Then they asked who was planning to attend college. Every hand dropped
Even for eager students, prospects in El Salvador are bleak. Niñas Arriba aims to rectify this situation bit by bit—girl by girl. Education is the key to social mobility. More than half of public schools in El Salvador have five or fewer teachers; 14% of public school teachers have bachelor’s degrees. Niñas Arriba graduate, Marta, joined that minority in 2017 when she graduated from La Universidad de Don Bosco with a teaching certificate. She and her fellow graduates, Xiomara, Rosmery and Vanesa are pulling the country forward with their leadership and innovation in the areas of education, business and non-profit sectors
Niñas Arriba was founded by Jodi Granado and Gina Chavez, the 2020 Latin Grammy nominee for Best Pop/Rock Album, 12-time Austin Music Award winner, including 2019 Best Female Vocals and 2015 Austin Musician of the Year. Her NPR Tiny Desk concert has more than 1.2 million views and her hour-long PBS special is available nationwide.
Gina tours internationally as a cultural ambassador with the U.S. State Department and is featured alongside Oprah, Beyonce, Mahalia Jackson, Dolly Parton and many more in Southern Living’s new book celebrating “100 extraordinary women who have left their indelible mark on the South and beyond.” Together with Jodi they are using music to raise funds and awareness to Niñas Arriba’s cause.
One girl at a time, Niñas Arriba is leveling the playing field for young women in El Salvador. Every girl makes a difference. Every dollar helps.
Please check out the work from Niñas Arriba and donate via the link below.