WINGS Family Planning educator, Evelyn Roquel provides vital private counselling for women interested in using a contraceptive method to ensure they are fully aware of their options. Here, Angelina, a WINGS beneficiary who was able to receive a voluntary tubal ligation after WINGS came to her remote community, speaks about her initial reservations about the operation and its significance to her:
"I heard about the mobile clinic at a talk the lady from WINGS gave in San Juanita. I approached her that day to say I had some concerns about the operation and she wrote my name down. Later, she came to see me in my home where I explained to her that I wanted to have a tubal ligation but that I was really worried about what to do with my kids after the operation – my baby girl is still young, and I already have 7 kids. She told me there was no problem because I only had to take it easy for a few days. That put my mind at rest – you see, sometimes there’s no food or work so [Angela appears anxious]... If she hadn’t explained to me how the operation works I don’t think I would have done it.
These family planning operations for men and women are great for us, our families, and for our communities. I’m thankful from the bottom of my heart because people came all the way out to here in San Juan la Laguna so that we women could have good healthcare. Thank you."
Luciana, a 38 year-old housewife, lives in a remote Guatemalan village with her husband and their 5 children. Scarce jobs and limited access to farm land in their region make it a daily struggle to put food on the table; any more children would prove an impossible strain.
Luciana had not been able to access family planning services until a WINGS nurse came to her community to give a reproductive health and family planning charla, or talk. There, for the first time, Luciana learned about the importance of family planning and the types of methods available. Afterwards, she spoke privately with the WINGS nurse to discuss her options and understood that because of her age any more pregnancies could prove dangerous to her health and that of the child. Luciana took a family planning information sheet home to look through with her husband, and together they decided that a tubal ligation would be their best option. Normally, this simple operation would not only be too expensive for women like Luciana, but also unavailable to her rural community where health services are severely lacking. Fortunately, WINGS was able to guide Luciana to one of their subsidized tubal ligation clinic in a neighboring town a few days later. After a safe and successful operation, Luciana and her husband can now focus on taking care of their existing children with more security for the future.
WINGS is excited to have been invited to participate in GlobalGiving’s last matching challenge of the year. This is the perfect opportunity to make your generous donation go further in support of WINGS’ efforts to provide Guatemalan women, men and youth with access to family planning education and services.
Here’s how it works: for every donation that you make to our family planning project, http://www.globalgiving.org/projects/family-planning-for-guatemalans-living-in-poverty/, between TODAY and October 21st, GlobalGiving will match your donation by 30, 40 or 50% - the larger the donation the greater the matching amount! If we raise the most donations we are eligible for a bonus award of $1,000.
With the highest birthrate in all of Latin America and the Caribbean, the importance of providing women, men and youth in Guatemala with access to family planning education and services is as pertinent as ever. Nearly 1/3 of all pregnancies in Guatemala are unplanned and 1/2 of all women in Guatemala have a child by the age of 20. The result is that 1 in every 2 children in Guatemala suffers from chronic malnutrition and every year thousands of Guatemalan women die from unsafe abortions or birth-related complications. Such tragedies are completely avoidable. Indeed, its costs as little as $7 to provide a woman with a year’s worth of birth control pills.
For nearly ten years WINGS has been at the forefront of improving access to family planning education and services to women, men and youth in Guatemala. Working in low-income, rural and indigenous communities, WINGS provides family planning information through educational talks and financially subsidizes family planning methods for those most in need. WINGS also trains community family planning promoters who act as resource individuals, providing both information and a range of affordable contraceptive methods in very rural areas. In 2009 alone WINGS reached 14,903 people through educational talks and provided 23,171 temporary methods.
You can help ensure that WINGS continues to provide these critical services TODAY by participating in GlobalGivings’ Give More, Get More Challenge and by sharing this message with your friends. A donation of just $50 will be matched at 30% and provide 9 women with one-year’s worth of protection from unwanted pregnancies.
Thank you for supporting WINGS and for helping to improve the lives of women in Guatemala.
The WINGS Team
P.S. To see where WINGS ranks in the competition, click here.
WINGS’ founder, Sue Patterson, recently visited the home of Mariela, a former WINGS beneficiary who chose to have a tubal ligation a few years ago. Here is what Sue learned about Mariela during her visit:
Together with her two daughters aged 7 and 9, Mariela lives in a house made out of cornstalks and cardboard, which is precariously placed on a muddy mountainside. Her house was severely damaged during tropical storm Agatha last May, but has since been rebuilt with more cornstalks and cardboard. Mariela and her mother make and sell stuffed peppers, earning between the two of them about $6 dollars a day. Given the adversity she faces, when Mariela lost her third child to meningitis four years ago she decided to have a tubal ligation. While her family opposed the operation, Mariela decided for herself that she did not want to have any more children and went ahead with the procedure. Not having to care for any more young children has been very liberating for Mariela, who is currently enrolled in night school where she is studying the 7th grade. She now has aspirations to become a psychologist, so she can help others who have gone through difficult times. While Mariela’s situation is still precarious, she is now able to focus on improving the situation for herself and her two surviving daughters.
As the story of Mariela highlights, the opportunity to limit one’s family size can change the course of entire families, enabling them to direct precious and scare resources to improve their lives and that of their existing children. Thanks to your generous support, more families in Guatemala will have access to essential family planning services that make a real difference in their lives.
The WINGS Team
I am writing to let you know about an exciting opportunity to double your impact and help to ensure that all women in Guatemala have access to life-saving reproductive health services.
On June 16th, GlobalGiving will be matching all online donations at 50% (up to $1,000 per donor) to WINGS’ project Family Planning for Guatemalans Living in Poverty. In addition, GlobalGiving will award a $1,000 bonus to the project that raises the most funds that day and a $1,000 bonus to the project that receives the largest number of individual donations!
Why should you care? When a woman is able to plan her family, the opportunities that open up for her and her children are immense. She is more likely to enter the workforce and live a healthier life, and her children are more likely to attend school, become educated, and find employment opportunities. Despite the tremendous benefits of family planning for women and children, less than one-third of couples in Guatemala use any form of modern contraception, and another one-third of women report that they want to plan their families, but lack access to vital reproductive health information and services. The results are devastating for Guatemalan families. Half of all women in Guatemala have a child by the age of 20, severely limiting a woman’s opportunity to finish school and gain employment, and all-too-often, women risk injury or death because they do not have the resources to properly space or limit their pregnancies.
What is being done? Since 2001, WINGS’ family planning education and reproductive health services have reached more than 120,000 women, men and adolescents in Guatemala. By providing women and their families in Guatemala with the tools they need to take control of their reproductive lives, WINGS has helped thousands of parents to more fully invest in their children’s education and nutrition, helping to end the cycle of poverty.
How can you make a difference? Donate on June 16th to our project Family Planning for Guatemalans Living in Poverty on GlobalGiving and your donation will be matched at 50%. Consider the tremendous impact your GlobalGiving gift will have on the lives of women:
- A donation of just $20 will be matched at 50%, for a total donation of $30 - enough to cover the cost of 2 Jadelle implants, which provides women with up to 5 years of protection from unwanted pregnancies.
- A donation of $50 will be matched for a total donation of $75 – enough to cover the cost of tubal ligations for 5 women.
- A donation of $100 will be matched for a total donation of $150 – enough to cover the cost of a year’s supply of birth control pills for 20 women.
In order to ensure that WINGS is able to continue to provide these life-saving services, make a donation today and pass this email onto your friends and family.
Our heartfelt thanks for your support of WINGS and for helping to improve the lives of women in Guatemala.
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