Children
 Brazil
Project #6812

Change Lives of 100 High Risk Teen Mums in Brazil

by Associacao de Apoio as Meninas e Meninos da Se

My name is Joshua Niederman. I am an In the Field intern visiting GlobalGiving partner organizations in Brazil. Read here about my recent visit to "Change Lives Of 100 High Risk Teen Mums In Brazil"

Associação de Apoio as Meninas e Meninos de Sé has been developing programs that foster the empowerment and social inclusion of children in São Paulo, Brazil for over 20 years. Surrounding the beautiful Catedral da Sé in the heart of the city, is an extremely poor area that suffers from the affects of drug-dealing, violence, and prostitution.   

Evaraldo Santos Oliveira founded the association here to protect young children from street violence, however the organization’s role has expanded to assist pregnant girls and teen mothers.  This unique program teaches girls about reproductive health, human rights, women’s rights and conflict resolution.  The program also offers legal and social assistance, and guidance to obtain a formal education and employment.

Evaraldo and his team of psychologists and social workers have a keen feel for the streets and the families that live there - “familias da rua.”  As he states, “you have to know the groups, because if the street brother or sister doesn’t go to the center, the child will not go either.”

I found evidence of this when I sat in on a class for pregnant girls.  Two of the girls were first cousins.  The elder sister of one of the girls had previously attended the program.  Vitoria, a psychologist, stood before the girls and led a discussion about a film that they had seen about a women who was sexually abused and reached her own freedom.  The girls discussed how Kiranjit Ahluwalia, the Punjabi woman in the film, had become free, what it meant to be free, and what her rights were in society. 

After the class, I sat down with the two cousins.  I asked them to tell me one thing that they had learned since coming to the center.  One of the girls said that she had learned that women have the same rights as men.  “What do you mean?,” I asked.  She said that before she had always thought that because men worked, they had more rights than women.  But after attending classes at the center, she had learned that she had the same rights as men.  The cousin stated that she had learned how to properly feed her newborn baby when he or she is born.  This is critically important.  According to Vitoria, many babies are fed crackers or breadcrumbs and lack the proper nutrients to live healthy and productive lives.

Vitoria represents a role model for these girls.  They learn from the class, but they also see in Vitoria that, as Afro-Brazilian women from poor backgrounds, they too can obtain an education, earn a living and help other women in their community.   The sense of solidarity of the women in the group was strong.  The association provides a support group for these girls at an extremely trying time in their lives. 

“We help the most needy of society,” said Evaraldo, “those that other organizations leave for want, in an area that is totally neglected by the state and society.” 

Your support on GlobalGiving for this educational program for girls in São Paulo helps break the cycle of teen pregnancy, poverty, drug abuse and domestic and sexual abuse.

Teen Mothers in Workshop Activity
Teen Mothers in Workshop Activity

Dear Friends of the Project Ser Mulher (To be a Woman),

 Hello! We’d like to say a big thank you for generously giving to our project. Each and every donation makes an important contribution to our work and we are most grateful for your support.

 We’d also like to let you know about a recent project activity. Over the last few months, one of the workshop themes of the Pregnant Teen and Teen Mother and Baby groups has been that of gender. The project educator introduced the subject by explaining how societies assign gender roles and how these are taught to children. Some dynamic discussions then took place among the project participants, including identifying the advantages and disadvantages of being a woman or a man. At first, the teens identified physiological differences as being advantages, such as the fact that men don’t have to suffer with menstruation or the pain of childbirth, while women can be mothers. Interestingly, when the teens moved on to discussing the disadvantages of being a man, they said that men have to work in order to sustain the family, but women don’t. This revealed a sexist vision of society, which is reproduced without awareness and not even true for many of the teens since they need to work to support their families.

 A point which really caught the educators’ attention was that the teens had a very negative view of work. This originates from their own negative experience of having been badly exploited at work and also knowledge of the reality of the exploitation of family members and friends in their workplace. Because of this, the teens feel they have no promising future opportunities to look forward to, nothing different to that of the people they know. They identified work as simply a means to an end, with only one participant adding that it’s also a way to meet people. The project educator encouraged the teens to reflect on the social function of work, highlighting that in addition to being necessary to sustain a family, it’s a means through which we can contribute to society and be fulfilled as a person. This perspective was very new to the project participants and motivated them to begin thinking in a new way about the role of work in their lives and the importance of education.

 Well, we hope you’ve found this news of interest and thanks again for your support of our work.

 We look forward to being in touch again soon with more project news!

 Muito obrigado from the project team!

Project Beneficiary in Workshop
Project Beneficiary in Workshop
Project Beneficiary in Workshop
Project Beneficiary in Workshop
Beneficiaries of the Pregnant Teen Group
Beneficiaries of the Pregnant Teen Group

Hello Dear Supporter,

We'd like to thank you very much for the donation you've made to our project in Sao Paulo and to tell you about our recent project activities.

Over the last few months the Teen Mother and Newborn Group have, alongside workshops on postnatal care, had several discussions about the importance of education in breaking the cycle of poverty and social exclusion. The project educator has encouraged the participants to seriously re-think the necessity to return to school and to express their plans and objectives for the next year. Despite initial resistance on the part of the young mums, they've shown an interest in and requested more information on how they can return to school.

A few weeks ago we had some excitement in a relaxation exercise session of the Pregnant Teen Group when a participant went into labor! Although she insisted that she stay until the end of the activity as she felt so relaxed, the project social assistant accompanied her to hospital immediately and we’re happy to say she gave birth to a healthy baby girl hours later. The relaxation exercises in this group are focused on feeling the baby and reducing anxiety. They certainly helped this young Mum!

The project psychologist led several workshops with this Pregnant Teen Group on the expression of their fears and insecurities. Common among the feelings expressed by the teens were fear related to the pain of childbirth and of losing a loved one. The psychologist guided the participants through a deep discussion of these innermost fears and this opportunity to share in the safety of the group appears to have greatly benefited the participants. This Group also recently watched the Brazilian film “Sonhos Roubados” (“Stolen Dreams”), which explores teenage pregnancy, prostitution and sexual abuse – all experiences that the attendees can closely relate to.

Recently, as part of the projects activities to help improve the self-esteem and self-care of the participants of the Teen Mother and Newborn Group and Pregnant Teen Group, they were invited to a local Hair Dressing Salon to have a cut and blow dry. Needless to say this was enjoyed by all and, happily, a great boost to self-esteem was noted!

With many thanks for all of your essential support and we look forward to keeping in touch.

"Muito obrigado" from the project team!!!!

Hair Salon Visit - Before
Hair Salon Visit - Before
Hair Salon Visit - After
Hair Salon Visit - After
Teen Mother and Baby Group
Teen Mother and Baby Group

Dear Friends of the Project Ser Mulher (To Be A Woman), we, the project team, would like to thank you very much for your kind donations made through GlobalGiving.  Your generosity is helping us to buy essential materials, such as dypers and milk powder for the babies of our project attendees, as well as making an important contribution to the provision of our non-formal educational courses.

 These courses, led by a trained and experienced educator, re-started after the Christmas and New Year break and are divided into different groups, including the Pregnant Teen Group and the Teen Mother and Baby Group. The project beneficiaries in these groups receive instruction on and actively participate in discussions about pre-natal care and mother care, with a focus on newborns. The knowledge gained through the courses helps our attendees gain a deep understanding of how best to care for their child and create a harmonious family environment, even in the most precarious of living conditions.

Your donations are extremely important to our work, particularly at this time when we are facing unprecedented challenges as a result of funding cuts made by the local government. We are putting great effort into fundraising from various sources to ensure that our work will not be interrupted and we very much hope to reach our overall funding goal of U$ 25,000, on the GlobalGiving site.

 As we continue to help improve, transform and empower the lives of high risk teenage mothers and their children in the heart of downtown Sao Paulo, we would like to express our sincere gratitude for all of your interest in and support of our work and to let you know that on March 16 GlobalGiving.org is matching at 30% all online donations (up to $1,000 per donor per project)! This means it is a great day to make a donation to our project and we’d really appreciate it if you could help us spread the word!  “Muito obrigado” from everyone here at the project!

Teen Mother and Baby Group
Teen Mother and Baby Group
Teen Mother and Baby Group
Teen Mother and Baby Group
Non Formal course activity this month
Non Formal course activity this month

We, the team of Project Ser Mulher (To Be A Woman) would like to express our huge gratitude and thanks to you for kindly contributing funds to our project in November and December of this year,  through the GlobalGiving Open Challenge. We are delighted, because with your great generosity, we have been able to surpass the target of U$ 4,000 from more than 50 donors and have therefore secured a long-term place on the GlobalGiving site.

 It has been a great experience for us to participate in the Challenge and the funds raised will make a very significant impact on our work with high risk teenage mothers in 2011, helping us to buy essential materials such as dypers and milk powder as well as contributing to the provision of our non-formal educational courses. Having secured a long-term place on the GlobalGiving site is also extremely important for us as it is a platform through which we can, from now on, raise funds and we very much hope to reach our overall funding goal of U$ 25,000.

This month our project beneficiaries have participated in several Christmas related activities, making cards and celebrating with small group get-togethers in which we were able to distribute small gifts. The participants greatly enjoyed this opportunity to share experiences and plans for the New Year. Their children were also delighted to receive a Christmas gift and to eat plenty of delicious treats!

In 2011 we hope to help improve, transform and empower the lives of many more high risk teenage mothers and their children in the heart of downtown Sao Paulo.

We wish you a wonderful 2011 and thank you once again for your interest in and support of our work as well as your great kindness. “Muito obrigado” (thank you very much) from everyone here at the project!

Christmas Gifts
Christmas Gifts
Receiving Xmas Gift
Receiving Xmas Gift
Children of Project Participants
Children of Project Participants
Making Christmas Cards
Making Christmas Cards
 

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Organization Information

Associacao de Apoio as Meninas e Meninos da Se

Location: Sao Paulo - Brazil
Associacao de Apoio as Meninas e Meninos da Se
Project Leader:
Emma Sara Boustead
Sao Paulo, Sao Paulo Brazil

Funded Project!

Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.
   

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