WINGS

WINGS creates opportunities for Guatemalan families to improve their lives through family planning education and access to reproductive health services.
May 2, 2013

Sick Child Motivates Mom to Seek Family Planning

Berta Receiving the Jadelle at the WINGS Clinic
Berta Receiving the Jadelle at the WINGS Clinic

Berta, 29, suffered a terrible loss when one of her four children died as an infant. Now, her two-year-old son is also sick. Berta and her husband, Juan, have spent a lot of money trying to keep him well, but on the combined salary of about $150 per month that they earn as bus drivers, they simply cannot afford to buy all of the medicines that might help him.

This harsh reality motivated them to seek out a reliable family planning method at from WINGS. The couple wants to make sure that they do not bring another child into the world in such difficult circumstances. Berta has been getting a Depo-Provera injection every three months, but explained that sometime the government-run health center runs out, and she is forced to  go for months without protection from unintended pregnancy.

“It seems that every day life gets more expensive. We are living with my in-laws to try to save money, but sometimes we still have problems making ends meet. We need time to figure out if we can support more children,” said Berta. 

At the clinic, Berta received a Jadelle, a sub-dermal hormonal implant that will protect her from unplanned pregnancies for up to five years.  WINGS offers the implant at a deeply subsidized price of approximately $3, and will waive the cost for families who truly cannot afford it, so it is accessible to couples like Berta and Juan. The couple is pleased that they can now focus their resources on their surviving children, without worrying about having to provide for another child in the future. 

Feb 1, 2013

A Woman's Hope Discoved Through Family Planning

Sandra and her daughter Ana
Sandra and her daughter Ana

When we saw Sandra, 21, at a recent mobile clinic, she looked tired and bit sad. She explained that she came on foot from her village, about 2 hours away, with one-and-a-half year old Ana in tow. Her aunt had told her that the WINGS mobile clinic would be arriving in the center of town a few days ago and Sandra did not want to miss it.

Upon asking Sandra why she it was important to her to come to the clinic, she hesitated a moment, but then went on to explain that that her husband, a day laborer, drinks too much. “It isn’t fair to bring any more children into the situation we are currently living in,” she said. 

She had used hormonal injections and condoms as forms of birth control in the past, but Sandra wanted a more reliable method. Her face lit up a bit when she began to talk about the Jadelle, the hormonal birth control implant which will protect her from unwanted pregnancies for up to five years. “There is nothing I have to remember to do. It just keeps working. I liked the talk that [WINGS Family Planning Educator] Ester gave because I now know exactly what to expect.”

Sandra also expressed her gratitude for the reduced price because it meant that she could pay for the implant with a bit of the money that she usually spends on household expenses, like food and cleaning supplies. Lamentably, not every story we come upon is a cheery one, but we hope by providing Sandra access to a reliable birth control method, she feels more empowered. 

Feb 1, 2013

Community Group Prevents Cervical Cancer

Members of the Tall Pines League
Members of the Tall Pines League

The Tall Pines League is a group made up of the leaders in 12 communities formed a year ago to promote camaraderie between their villages and improve intrafamilial relationships.

Gavino, one of the leaders, explains, “We saw a lot of violence in the community, including domestic violence, and young people without recreational opportunities. We wanted to create opportunities to bring families together.”

The group decided that a soccer tournament would be a good start. The men, women, and children of the community enjoyed the experience playing and watching the matches, but when rainy season came along, the group looked for another activity to engage their communities and try to decrease the level of violence.

Although the majority of their group is made up by men, their conversations revealed that women’s health was an area that was being overlooked. By dedicating an activity specifically for women, the leaders hoped to emphasize a women’s worth in her family and her rights as a citizen. As a result, the leaders contacted WINGS and the organization came to give a talk about cervical cancer prevention.

At first, only the wives of the men in the League came to the talk to learn more about cervical cancer and to get tested for cervical abnormalities. To confront the taboo in the community that has prevented open discussion about sexual and reproductive health, the League had to intensify their actions to recruit women participants for the activity. Each League member committed to talking to at least five women before the next WINGS talk.

WINGS supported the group with information and materials and the League met with groups of women to explain a bit about cervical cancer. They purposefully used their native language, Kakchiquel, in their outreach to ensure that the women received the information in the language with which they are most comfortable.

After vigorous recruiting work by the community leaders, the house was packed with women wanting cervical cancer screenings.As a result of their efforts, the WINGS’ team held an additional four cervical cancer prevention talks. At each talk, there were more than 50 women in attendance.

Roberto, another representative of the League, expressed his appreciation: “We feel very satisfied. We didn´t think that it would be like this because convincing people in this region can be difficult. We believe what we are doing is a service to the community because it has shown that the women deserve to be included and respected. We dared to worry about women’s health because no one else does, not even the government.”

We at WINGS are inspired by the Tall Pines League. The leaders of the League challenged taboos and traditional gender roles in their communities, all for the good of women’s health and cervical cancer prevention.
Gavino, of the League, says, “I could say a thousand words to thank WINGS, but really I only need four: Thank you very much!”

 
   

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