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Educate and Empower Girls in Mexico

by Yo Quiero Yo Puedo
Educate and Empower Girls in Mexico
Educate and Empower Girls in Mexico
Educate and Empower Girls in Mexico
Educate and Empower Girls in Mexico
Educate and Empower Girls in Mexico
Educate and Empower Girls in Mexico
Educate and Empower Girls in Mexico
Educate and Empower Girls in Mexico
Educate and Empower Girls in Mexico
Educate and Empower Girls in Mexico
Educate and Empower Girls in Mexico
Educate and Empower Girls in Mexico
Educate and Empower Girls in Mexico
Educate and Empower Girls in Mexico
Sandra
Sandra

“Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree” - Martin Luther King Jr.

 

Dear GlobalGiver,

So much has changed since we wrote to you at the start of February and told you about Sandra, in Tlalpan, Mexico City, and how addressing violence and teen pregnancy is key to her staying in school. Today, Sandra and those of her classmates who have internet (about half of them) are connecting remotely to their classes, and doing at-home activities.

Our work with Sandra has also moved online, and taken on the immediate focus of ensuring Sandra´s physical and mental health and wellbeing in the midst of shelter-in place; we are in constant communication via WhatsApp (more common than text messages here) and this month we launch virtual workshop sessions. As an organization, we are learning and adapting-  experiential workshops aren´t the first thing you think of for Zoom, but we have gotten creative with breakout rooms, interactive polls and the participation of influencers on social media, even enabling phone-only connection. 

Sandra´s borough of Tlalpan is in the top 3 for Covid-19 contagion in the whole country. Not only is it important that Sandra stays enrolled in school, but as a youth peer educator we need to make sure that she has the knowledge and tools to prevent Covid-19 in her home and her community. 

The families here, many living in deep poverty, are finding it difficult to stay safe from the virus, and because of this, according to official records there are already more than 1,800 cases and over 100 deaths in her borough alone. Infections in Mexico have still not plateaued, and many still don´t wear masks or wash their hands regularly. As you can see, we have our work cut out for us. 

Ithere is one thing that we are sure of, it is that we will not lose hope. We are certain that with the daily efforts of the entire Yo quiero Yo puedo team, hand in hand with Sandra, her classmates and their families, we will be able to decrease the spread of --and the deaths from-- COVID-19.

People like you give us hope. Your support in the last two months, and whatever you can give this month, means we are able to build local awareness quickly in Tlalpan, and are getting more people to wear face masks and wash their hands.

Thank you for everything you do! With the help of people like you, there is hope that we will soon be able to hug those we most love.

With gratitude, 

Shoshana and the Yo quiero Yo puedo team

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Loud and clear: "lets talk openly about safe sex"
Loud and clear: "lets talk openly about safe sex"

Dear GlobalGivers,

After three years following the 4th, 5th and 6th grade girls in rural Acaxochitlán, Hidalgo, we want to take you to Mexico City, and introduce you to high school girls. In Sandra´s school- in the Tlalpan neighborhood at the south end of Mexico City – more than half of her peers didn´t use any form of contraception the first time they had sex, and a quarter of them never use any form of contraception. Which explains why many of her friends have gotten pregnant and had to drop out of school before finishing. How their bodies work and how to be safe isn´t something they talk about often. 

Sandra and her friends also frequently find themselves face to face with violence. School, for example, is one of the spaces where violence is not only suffered but also reproduced. A national survey of public schools shows that violence is a common phenomenon within the educational spaces and is seen as normal. Some days, Sandra prefers to stay home than to face bullying and get jeered at by some of her classmates. They don´t do it out of meanness, it is just how they have learned to interact with girls.

But change is coming. Sandra came forward when we gave a talk at her school, and volunteered to be a youth peer educator. Over the coming year, we will be training her and 119 of her classmates through a 40 hour workshop, so that they can first understand these dynamics in their school and community, and then become agents of change. We will also be involving Sandra’s parents and teachers, because we know that change comes most sustainably when it comes to an entire community. 

Thank you for helping Sandra become an agent of change. We can´t wait to keep you updated over the coming year.

With grattitude,

Shoshana and Yo quiero Yo puedo

Calling all youth!
Calling all youth!
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Dear GlobalGivers,

Wow, three years have flown by since we started working with the students of Acaxochitlán (pronounced Ah-kah-tzo-cheet-lhan), Hidalgo!

In August, we told you about how much has changed since we started this program and the men wanted us to leave for talking about sexual and reproductive health (even though teen pregnancy is one of the biggest reasons why girls drop out of middle school). From participatory sessions with parents to workshops with teachers, to in-classroom activities with girls and boys, we have been hard at work with the community to reduce the school drop-out of indigenous girls by changing social norms and reducing teen pregnancy, dating violence and addictions.

Since that last report, our evaluation team has been pouring over all three years of evaluation data, and we are excited to share the results with you.

Today, girls in Acaxochitlán have achieved:

  • Strong practices that prevent violence
  • Strong practices of gender equity
  • Strong practices that promote healthy masculinity
  • Strong knowledge on pregnancy prevention and STIs.

Listening to how these girls talk about their dreams, you know their world is forever opened. And their male peers now express masculinity in a healthy way and know how to prevent pregnancy and violence. Thank you for making this change possible! You should be proud of what you helped achieve.

Looking to the future, we have results that enable us to us strengthen the program further. The evaluation shows that with each passing year, teachers obtain more and more knowledge on the different risks, and continue to build their skills on how to address them in their classrooms. Parents, however, still need more support. And the evaluation found that students grow a lot in the first two years of the program, but not as much in the final year. This gives us important insights that girls and boys can be reached primarily in the first two years, and then in year 3 work more heavily with those who raise them, lead them and teach them.

We have shared these results with partners across the United States and Latin America. Your impact is reaching girls not just in our program, but in programs around the region. Thank you!

We can´t wait to tell you about what is coming next. Stay tuned!

With gratitude,
Yo quiero Yo puedo

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Dear GlobalGivers,

It is the end of another school year, and we couldn´t be more proud of how this third year of work in Acaxochitlán, Hidalgo has gone. You should be too, because you made it possible.

When we arrived in Chimalapa, Acaxochitlán, the men were uncomfortable with us talking about sexual and reproductive health (even though unplanned pregnancy is one of the biggest reasons why indigenous girls drop out of middle school here) and they wanted us to leave. The Chimalapa parent association insisted to these men on the importance of the program. And today, we are excited to share that in our last “Yo quiero, yo puedo” parent workshop of the year, there were quite a few men in the room participating. We have made sure to do some of these parents sessions with men and women separately, to ensure that the women can speak up too, and not just the men to whom the society affords a voice.

We have reached over 700 girls and boys in over 40 classrooms across indigenous Acaxochitlán this year. We even got to reach younger students, in 4th grade, thanks to all the support from donors like you. See one of these girls, Esmeralda, tell you what she thinks about gender equality, in the video below.

And watch the video of Cirilo talk about the change he has seen in the community, and his daughter and son, as a result of the program. We will be back soon with the evaluation results from Year 3!

With gratitude, 

Yo quiero Yo puedo

Links:

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What is looks like when teachers replicate!
What is looks like when teachers replicate!

Dear GlobalGivers, 

You have met Melanie on camera, one of the many empowered girls who is still in school thanks to your support, and you have seen Pepe and Lucy, key educational figures for changing attitudes and norms in indigenous Acaxochitlán, Hidalgo. Now, the program is getting close to standing on its own two feet!

These past few months, parents from across 15 schools have been bringing into their homes the attitudes and behaviors their daughters have started to adopt at school. For the first time, moms and dads expect their daughters to stay in school, and they see the value of their daughters´ education. They are even encouraging their daughters to speak up in class and be active participants in their community. Just think what this community will look like in a few years as a result! 

At the same time, week in and week out the teachers continue to replicate the program activities with their students, teaching them new life skills and implementing new methodologies for gender-equality in the classroom. And our field staff are there with them each step of the way, giving feedback and support as the teachers develop ownership over this new approach. In the photo you can see how some girls get excited from the start and others take longer to engage, which is why teachers need skills to reach both groups simultaneously.

You are the reason that girls in Acaxochitlán, Hidalgo are now aspiring to be doctors, accountants and designers. And you are the reason why they have persevered and stayed in school, moving from primary school to secondary school, to make these dreams a reality. 

With gratitude, 

Yo quiero Yo puedo  

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Organization Information

Yo Quiero Yo Puedo

Location: Mexico City, Mexico - Mexico
Website:
Project Leader:
Shoshana Grossman-Crist
Mexico City, Mexico

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