Belisa Howard Martinez is a public education teacher, college professor, and staff member at a non-profit organization in the Dominican Republic that provides high-quality education to more than 8,000 children and youth every year.
Her tenacity, drive, and love of learning and passing this knowledge on to others is demonstrated by the fact Belisa juggles being a single mother working three jobs, as well as completing three master's degrees at the same time. These cover Educational Technology and Digital Competencies, Applied Linguistics in English Language Teaching and Digital Marketing. Touching lives all over the world, this year she has travelled virtually to Spain and Mexico through online classes and visiting peers. Whether it is using her digital skills to help colleagues create a web page, digital magazine or a blog or a Wiki free of charge, Belisa loves nothing more than to help her peers and instil new knowledge.
As Marketing Manager at the education non-profit DREAM project, Belisa is currently proud to be Leading the Digital Strategy of the Implementation of the Única App, created by the girls of the community of Cabarete, which educates people on the topic of teenage pregnancy, sexual education, self-esteem, and avoiding violence given that the Dominican Republic has one of the highest rates of teenage pregnancy. The Unica App had the support of the Canadian Embassy and US non-profit RISE (formerly Together Women Rise) and has directly impacted more than 3000 girls.
A social media and marketing whiz, Belisa has created a YouTube channel, Facebook page and a web page where she shares resources on teaching the English language, reaching thousands of individuals to date. In addition, as part of her work at the DREAM project, Belisa has helped several programs spread digital media to more people, with her thesis dissertation for the Digital Marketing Master’s based on creating a strategic digital marketing plan to encompass and extend the impact of DREAM project. Most recently she has been involved in its initiative “DREAM en CASA” that aims to provide education through social media channels.
If Belisa wins the Global Student Prize, she has several projects that she would like to develop. The first is a social media campaign combatting cyberbullying and other cybercrimes. She believes social media is an essential, powerful tool and wants to use it to help reach more youth and raise awareness of cybercrimes among parents. The second project would be to promote the Única App to reach other Latin American countries with high rates of teenage pregnancy, and would also work with DREAM project to create a mobile library and book fairs for youths and adults promote a culture of reading in her community.