Proud of her humble beginnings, Vilma Caban-Vazquez
feels that perhaps she was destined to become a global humanitarian vessel. Although she faced great adversity along the way, she flourished like a resilient urban flower. Vilma’s mother, with a 2nd grade education, worked 12 hours a day as a seamstress in various sweatshops of the garment industry. After giving birth to Vilma Luz, her "papa" was nowhere to be found and she remarried -- unfortunately, to an abusive and alcoholic husband. At the age of 18, after graduating from one of the worse inner-city high schools in New York, Vilma fled to an upstate college. Against all odds, she not only graduated but went on to get a PhD -- now in class of 0.4% Latina women to have achieved this level of education -- and have a happy family (and now have a grandson!).
Wearing many community leadership hats, Vilma focused on using education as a social equalizer and encouraging volunteerism. She was national trainer for Americorps, VISTA and traveled abroad with People to People Ambassadors Programs to Cambodia, Egypt and Vietnam. Later, she worked to eradicate Female Genital Infanticide in Kenya. While working on a research project -- "The Latina Project: Using Educational Path to Break the Silence of Domestic Abuse" -- her mother passed away and so she decided to head back to Dominican Republic and serve there. Currently, Vilma serves on various international boards to promote positive social change in the world, particularly in the lives of women and children.
In 2013, Vilma went to volunteer in Morocco, to explore the international phenomena of the invisible and forgotten children. Her heart was transformed, as she was inspired to formally launch an advocacy study centered on the tragic circumstances that Moroccan street children face.
Join us on this call to hear about a remarkable personal journey, and Vilma's most recent stories from Morocco.