By Moonyeen King
President of the Board for Tepehua
As Claudio Stern so aptly put it:
“Lack of information and little access to contraceptives are the two foremost factors leading to early pregnancies, it is rarely acknowledged that poor women have no option but to become mothers, linking them to a man.
Contraceptives have little meaning in their lives anyway, unless opportunities arise for them to envisage a different future; only then will they understand that postponing pregnancy is important.”
In Tepehua, lack of sanitary infrastructure like solid housing, running water, youth programs, and education turns adolescents onto the mean streets for distraction/entertainment, where alcoholism and drugs are the main part of socializing...leaving mothers struggling to keep fractured families together.
With adolescents ranging between 11 and 18, according to News Vatican Network, to be a child in Mexico means exposure to poverty, and apparently 32% of 20 million children live in poverty. Amongst whom are Indigenous girls, illiterate and pregnant.
Martha Kempner, 2013: “Teen parenting does not cause poverty, poverty causes teen parenting. Teen mothers are from a random swath of the teen population, who wind up in poverty because of a few fast swimming sperm the teens are usually in poverty in the first place”.
Growing up with few economic prospects can lead teens to early pregnancy, and living in an unequal and less mobile society contributes to low economic success that leads them to short term satisfaction.
Because of the sense of hopelessness young women in poverty experience when weighing the pro’s and con’s of their lives, they take what seems to be the only option, start a family.
Hope is better than humiliation.
Why are the males with the fast swimming sperm never in the spotlight of demanded change?
In 2012, according to REDIM (Rights of Children in Mexico) there were 44.4 million children with no voice. A child has rights. Rights to quality education, protection against child labour, eradication of domestic violence, freedom from discrimination...the list goes on, yet still poverty and lack of equality impedes the rights of millions of children.
The Tepehua Centro Comunitario strives to change that with education and counseling. If local government would follow the child protection rules, especially for mandatory education, and take away the shackles of endless school costs, we would have almost immediate change in Mexico. The teens of Tepehua have been growing up too fast with no hope for a future.
‘Light at the end of the Tunnel’ is a place called Tepehua Centro Comunitario A.C.
A Community Center is a social unit that shares common values. The word ‘community’ is derived from the French ‘comunete’ which in turn is derived from Latin ‘communis’, a broad term for fellowship or organization, a group of persons who are objectively connected to each other. (Wikepedia).
Robert Putman defines a Community as: ‘...takes a life of its own and people become free enough to share, secure enough to get along’.
Community work is almost always conducted by the ‘private sector’, not government.
The private sector are dedicated people who seek to empower individuals and groups by providing skills and tools to affect change. We can all be involved in this, because in the long run it affects us all...and the future of our world, which is the education of the children, who are the future.