The Teenage Mothers project of ‘Alianza Solidaria’ in Bolivia helps young mothers between the age of 12 and 18. “It's a light to enlighten them”, says one of its leaders.
Most of these aggressions take place in schools and homes, which makes family coexistence difficult and breaks ties, often leaving these young girls in a situation of vulnerability.
25% of Bolivian teenagers between12 and 18 are mothers, and for this reason they are also abandoned by their families and left at risk of social exclusion.
[photo_footer] A mother taking care of her baby./ Alianza Solidaria.[/photo_footer]
Alianza Solidaria, the social branch of the Spanish Evangelical Alliance, has launched the Teenage Mothers aid programme, which supports the work of the Hogar El Faro (Lighthouse Home), where some of these girls are cared for.
Carmen Sánchez works closely with them. “When I saw the 13 and 14 year old girls I thought, what are they doing with babies when they are so young? Someone told me that it is cultural, how can it be cultural for girls to be like this?", she told the president of Alianza Solidaria, Francisca Capa.
Sánchez is grateful for the support received so far and encourages people to keep giving, because “the people who are collaborating, in some way, are part of the life of the girls, who could be their daughters, girls who are finally being cared for”.
[photo_footer] In addition to covering basic needs and providing shelter in the home, they also take care of the spiritual state of the girls. / Alianza Solidaria.[/photo_footer]
There are many needs, from furniture and the necessary adaptation of the facilities of the Hogar El Faro, to the training of the mothers over 16, with the purchase of computers and the payment of enrolment fees for educational courses.
Apart from that, they help them to find the way of the Lord. “The Teenage Mothers project and El Faro are the light to enlighten these girls”, adds Sánchez.
Lucy is an example of this process. She got pregnant at 11 and had no family support because her mother had died five years earlier and her father abused her.
[photo_footer] Lucy with her family. / Alianza Solidaria.[/photo_footer]
After reporting the abuse, a judge referred her to Hogar El Faro, where she was accompanied and provided with the necessary resources for her and her daughter until she was 18. She now works in a hotel, her daughter is in the third year of primary school and she is engaged to be married to Jaime, who also looks after both of them.
The project focuses on caring for the girls in a holistic way. It aims to respond to their most urgent needs by taking them into the new home and providing them with food and support.
But there is also a formative intention, which aims to enable the girls to find a job afterwards that will give them an income to support themselves.
Furthermore, the emotional and spiritual side is also taken care of, with a special emphasis on the girls' self-esteem and their relationships with their children. “We work hard on the mother-child area, their bond, through early stimulation, and we monitor the process”.
[photo_footer] A mother with her daughter at the Hogar El Faro. / Alianza Solidaria.[/photo_footer]
At the beginning “they arrive with rejection, aggressiveness towards their child and we approach them with love, we work on guilt”, explains María Nela Burela, psychologist and responsible for interventions at a cognitive level with the adolescents.
“We have teenagers with us and we have seen the change, from that passive aggressive violence, to that love, that containment that they are able to have with their children. It is a very comprehensive, tough process, with the whole team, but it can be achieved”, she says.
Learn more about this and other Alianza Solidaria projects on their website (select English language).