Mexico City Partnership // Update

639 478 Open Gate International

As some of you may know, Open Gate has spread its wings internationally and has partnered up with some amazing organizations that are continuing to change lives all over the globe. One of these partnerships includes SAHL + Uno.

About SAHL + Uno

They are a vocational and educational training program for adult survivors of human trafficking and sexual exploitation located in Mexico City, MX. Since there are very limited resources in Mexico that help reintegrate adult survivors of trafficking, it makes it difficult for these individuals to find employment. SAHL + Uno recognized this need and created a program that teaches women a variety of culinary skills that helps transition them into successful employment.

UPDATE: SAHL + Uno has officially graduated their first generation of students and is planning to extend their program being providing entrepreneurship training to one of their students who is looking to start her own business in her hometown.

Our graduate took the skills that she learned during her time in the program and began to make a variety of baked goods. She took these treats to her friends, family, and neighbors to sample in hopes that they’ll recognize her baking skills and will support her in her new business venture.

With the money that she made from selling her baked goods, she was able to purchase some of the appropriate equipment needed to pursue her passion for baking. Some additional equipment was also donated by individuals in support of her dream.

The two student’s in the video below are planning on launching some “Kitchen Do’s & Don’ts” videos on social media that will revolve around food safety & hygiene.
Please see their trial video regarding hygiene.

1st Lady: “She has her nails painted.”
2nd Lady: “Oh yes, it is not right to cook with your nails painted because the paint can fall into the food and it is not right. I will go ahead and remove the nail polish.”

CEO & Founder Deidre Pujols Visits Moldova

719 407 Open Gate International

Recently, Open Gate International Founder and CEO Deidre Pujols visited her team and partners on the ground in Moldova. Her visit was perfectly timed, as the first major culinary project officially launched this Fall 2017.

Here is OGI Moldova President Anatol Malancea and Open Gate International Founder and CEO Deidre Pujols standing in front of the “open gate” of the church and new culinary project in the village of Antonesti.

OGI helped a local village church turn a formerly unused garage space into a fully functioning training kitchen. Now, the space is being used to train young women ages 12 to 14 in the culinary arts along with life skills mentorship and community building. The space will also function as an instruction facility for girls from the local school in the culinary arts. The village school previously had no functioning space for such a class, so when the principal heard about the new kitchen, they approached the project for collaboration.

Inside the newly renovated property of the culinary project in the village of Antonesti. This was formerly a storage garage.

Young women in the afterschool program meet for class 3 times per week for the entire semester (September to December – a new class will begin February to May). Classes have an excellent student to teacher ratio of 3 to 1, allowing for ample individualized instruction and quality mentorship time spent together. While the program centers around cooking, the primary goal is mentorship and the building up of self-esteem within each girl – together on the journey to “find their hero within.” Opportunities for personal growth and development are few and far between in the village. The prospect of a career or following dreams outside of the country are often accompanied by substantial physical safety risks. The majority of human trafficking victims in Moldova are from the rural areas where other opportunities are sparse and domestic violence rates are high.

TOP LEFT – Picture of the new student uniforms with OGI logo. 1st Class TOP RIGHT – Picture of the first 6 girls in the program. Class BOTTOM CENTER – Picture of the first 6 girls with Diana and Olga and Deidre.

Some of the girls and Deidre eating birthday cake that was made especially for Deidre’s birthday.

Warmth, friendship, strength, smiles, and singing emanated from the space, the teachers, and the girls.

Open Gate International exists for opportunities such as these, and we aren’t stopping here. From this culinary project, a scholarship program is being launched, encouraging young people from rural regions of Moldova not only to continue their studies, but to return to their villages to begin new endeavors creating opportunities for their families and communities.

More on this new scholarship program to come!

16 Reasons Why You Should Hire OGI’s Graduates

150 150 Open Gate International