12 years old and pregnant

The Act Now-ers in Lima have been visiting CEDETEP (Centre for Adolescent Mothers) where Thea and Kristine are going to work for six months. Janne blogs:
Do you remember what you were worried about as a 6th grader? I seem to remember just moving out of my Barbie phase (a little late, I know) around that age. For the mamasitas (little mothers) we visited a few days ago, reality looks pretty different. Meet Gloria: a 13 year old girl from the local community who already has a 10 month old daughter, Cielo [...]. Most of the girls come from communities plagued by poverty, family violence, sexual violence, and drug abuse, and several of them have become pregnant through cases of incest of rape. Luckily, the Centro para Madres Adolescentes (Center for Adolescent Mothers) is giving these young women a chance to deliver their baby safely and break out of the cycle of poverty and abuse.

Our visit to the center was moving and disheartening, but also left me with the sense that these girls have hope for the future. The leader, Filomena, and the psychologist on staff gave us a presentation about the project, and afterwards we were shown around the center, got to see the Anacoda dance and a Peruvian polka performed by the girls, and got a few minutes to talk to them in the end.

The project currently has 15 adolescent girls (and 15 babies) living at the center, but every day kids from the community come there to take part of the vocational trainings and other types of education. The center offers vocational training in beautycare (see picture frm the classroom on the left), textiles, and bakery, so that the girls will be able to support themselves when they leave the center (usually after about a one year long stay). While there, the girls are given holistic support (including psychological care, counseling with their families, legal advice, health care, social services, etc). The goal is that the girls will have safe pregnancies, learn how to take care of themselves and their children, and be able to reintegrate into their families and communities with a new perspective and ambitions for their future.


One of the things that struck me the most as we walked around the center was the writing on the wall above the soccerfield in the back of the center. In bright yellow letters it proclaimed Jesus' words that "los úlitimos seran los primeros" -- "the last shall be the first." These words take on new meaning when found in this setting where "the last" desperately need to know that they are not forgotten.

Les mer: Janne in Perú, Kristin i Peru (Norwegian), Thoughts from Bolivia, paa ville vegar (Norwegian)

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