Peruvian Hearts is a 501(c)(3) charity organization based in Golden, Colorado that encourages social, economic, and political change in Peru through the education and empowerment of young women. Peruvian Hearts works to end poverty and gender inequality by educating young women and creating community leaders in Peru-one girl at a time.
Peruvian-born Ana Dodson developed this nonprofit organization to enable young women to embrace education, believe in their own power, and dream of a life beyond the conditions they were born into.
Ana Dodson was born in Cusco, Peru and was adopted as a baby by a family from Colorado, where she has grown up. Ana first returned to Peru on a homeland trip with her mother during the summer of 2003, when she was eleven years old. The group was scheduled to visit several orphanages in Lima and Arequipa, so Ana decided that she would collect children's books in Spanish and teddy bears to bring down for the children. Once they arrived in Cusco, a family friend told them about a small orphanage in the hills of Cusco named the Hogar Mercedes de Jesus Molina. The group originally had not planned to visit this orphanage, but Ana decided that she wanted to because it was near where she was born. During Ana's visit to the hogar, she was saddened by the poverty in which these girls were living. While there, Ana got to know a girl named Yenivel, and when it came time for Ana's group to leave, Yenivel started to cry. The two girls hugged each other and then Yenivel told Ana, "I know you will not forget us and that one day you will help us."
Those words, as well as the realization that she could have grown up in an orphanage herself, inspired Ana to take action to help the girls. She realized there were many things in her life that she took for granted, such as a loving family and a wonderful education. Ana also understood that the girls needed more than books and teddy bears, and she wanted the same opportunities for them that she had been blessed with. Her desire to help the girls became a reality when she founded Peruvian Hearts.