Patricia Mars (270399)
Credit: Contributed

Patricia Mars has been with the There Is No Limit Foundation since its beginning, which was in 2008. They will be celebrating 10 years of achievements and missions in places such as Guinea, Cote d’ Ivoire, Senegal and parts of America to liberate individuals (mostly women and children) in the poorest communities to gain knowledge and break down the ongoing practices of inequality, poverty and violence done particularly to women and children.

One of the violent acts done toward women is female genital mutilation, and part of Break the Silence, a campaign created by the There Is No Limit Foundation, involves having safe and open conversations about it. They discuss the culture of some West African countries such as Guinea, and how it contributes to this practice. “If you have daughters and they’re not cut, they are not eligible to be married,” stated Mars. Through this advocacy, Mars and her partners in the organization discuss this topic to understand why these violent acts committed against women are happening.

“There are ways to teach girls to be women, but you don’t have to cut them,” said Mars. “ FGM is the first campaign we’re going to do and later on we are going to focus on domestic violence.” Her work focuses on the fields of education, women entrepreneurship, transition, clean water and advocacy.

Originally from Guyana, South America, Mars was always happy with her living conditions, although some essentials were lacking. At the age of 11, right on the brink of 12, she came to America and immediately saw differences in the living conditions and how they varied from back home. She remembered the shock of learning how little some people earned from hard work on other sides of the globe, explaining, “Average person in Guinea lives on less than a dollar and twenty-five cents a day and the family size minimum is four. Sometimes it’s a single family household.”

When describing her organization, she stated, “Overall when talking about women empowerment, we teach that the women can equally pay rent, have their own income, etc. It’s all about equality. This will impact the children to become self-reliant and will instill values in them, especially the female children because they would see that they don’t need to rely on a man to dictate their lives.”

Education and liberation is a common theme in Mars’ drive with the organization. “The way our programs are designed are to tackle those areas,” she said. “Simple things, like teaching girls small things such as washing your hands, or reading, really helps to build up the next leaders that can change the world. We have open, safe, honest conversations. For me it’s shaping the next generation in a positive way. We save up money and built a well and made such a big change from that. The future is brighter just from that one child receiving help.”

For more information, visit thereisnolimitfoundation.org or breakthesilence.info.