The June Maternal and Child Health educational session consisted of teaching the women about two natural methods of birth control: lactational amenorrhea method and Cycle Beads Lactational amenorrhea, otherwise referred to as MELA in Spanish, focuses on the importance of exclusively breastfeeding and provides the women with an easy and free method of birth control for 6 months after a birth. Cycle Beads encourage women to bring their spouse or partner into the discussion of family planning, focusing on using the woman's own cycle to calculate fertile and non-fertile days.
Women listened intently while Chonita, our health educator, spoke in T’zutujil about the importance of family planning and brought the women into the conversation, allowing them to ask questions and participate. The women then completed an exercise where they got to practice using Cycle Beads to ensure they understood the proper way to use this method. The women were eager to learn and participate, having chosen family planning methods as a topic of specific interest to them. They left well informed and happy.
Two weeks ago, we also welcomed a group of undergraduate students from Ohio State University who were connected with Pueblo a Pueblo through Peacework, another NGO that leads trips with groups of volunteers. The students spent the school year in the United States raising enough money to provide ten ONIL stoves to our mothers. Once they arrived in Santiago they were excited to meet the families and help install the stoves in each household.
Through this relationship we are able to provide stoves to more families at a lower cost. This project also provided an opportunity to teach the families about how smoke inhalation affects their health, as well as how saving trees can help the environment around the lake where deforestation is widespread.
A big thanks to all the students from OSU’s Global Health Initiative for their support of our programs. We look forward to partnering with more groups in the future in order to continue providing these valuable stoves to more women in our program.
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