Health
 Guatemala
Project #2394

Family Planning for Guatemalans Living in Poverty

by WINGS
Vetted
The family was happy that WINGS visited their town
The family was happy that WINGS visited their town

It is not typical to see men at our Family Planning Mobile Clinics.  Instead, a group of women normally assembles to listen to WINGS’ presentation and chat as they wait their turn to have a private talk with one of our Family Planning Educators.  The room swarms with small children-running, playing, crying, getting fed.  Husbands, boyfriends, and other men are usually out working or uninterested in attending.  However, this day in Santa Clara La Laguna, on the coast of Guatemala´s renowned Lake Atitlan, was different. 

Juana, a 24-year-old housewife, came accompanied not only by her two sons (the older at two-and-a-half years and the younger, a four-month-old bright-eyed baby), but also her husband Ever.  Ever had seen the announcement for WINGS’ mobile clinic in the town hall and was very interested.  On the day of the clinic, he came to make sure his wife’s procedure went well and to take care of the two boys while she was with the doctor. 

Ever is a day laborer and does not always have steady work.  He says despite economic difficulties he wants to be the best dad he can be, and that means “having the least number of children to provide for possible.”

Juana strongly agrees.  She came to the clinic to get a hormonal contraceptive implant which will give her family protection for up to four years.  “At times,” she says, “I feel helpless with our economic situation because I have to take care of the kids and cannot go out and find a job, but this is a way I can take responsibility to help us both feel less stress.”

This couple was satisfied with the decision they made for the wellbeing of their family.  They were also very grateful to WINGS who provided the service at a deeply subsidized price. 

Silvia the day of the WINGS Family Planning Clinic
Silvia the day of the WINGS Family Planning Clinic

Silvia, 27, originally found out about WINGS from a neighbor.  She returned to a WINGS mobile family planning clinic to renew her hormonal birth control implant, Jadelle.  This small device, which is about the size of a matchstick, is placed under the skin of the upper arm and has a life span of about 4 years.  

Silvia previously used hormonal injections to prevent pregnancy, but she is happy that, because of the implant, she doesn´t have to make the trip to the nearest health center every month.  She saves money on bus fare and there is no risk that she will forget to go. 

Silvia and her husband have two boys and they are quite satisfied with that number of children.  It is a simple matter of mathematics.  “With fewer children, you are able to give each one more.  More clothes, more food, more time.”  Her husband paints houses and since the budget is already tight, she knows that his salary won´t be sufficient to support more than four people. 

Family planning empowers Silvia.  She explains, “This is an opportunity that allows us to expand our possibilities. As women, this is an opportunity we have to take care of ourselves.”

Links:

Catalina, a 35 year-old mother of three, was taking her sick son to clinic in her community in Patzún when she encountered Ana, a WINGS Family Planning Educator.  Ana told Catalina that she was only visiting for the day, but would be back in the area the following week to conduct a talk about family planning.

Catalina was interested in learning more about family planning, as she told Ana that while she has three children, she has also had three pregnancies that ended in abortion.  Because she was poor and illiterate, Catalina didn’t have access to family planning methods.

The next week, Catalina attended the discussion, and spoke more with Ana about her options. Ana was able to refer her to receive an IUD, so now Catalina is able to live without worrying about future unplanned pregnancies.

To learn more about WINGS' family planning program, visit http://wingsguate.org/en/whatwedo/familyplanning

Links:

Luis Miguel is 32 years old and has two children. He comes from a family of 18. Luis is illiterate because his parents could not afford to send him to go to school, and he desperately wants his kids to avoid the same fate. Knowing that he and his wife would not be able to financially support a third child, he took matters into his own hands. In passing, Luis heard about a family planning clinic day and decided to attend to receive a WINGS-subsidized vasectomy after a discussion with his wife.

"I told my wife I didn’t want to have more kids, but I needed her as a wife and a partner to be sure not to have more kids.  I want to give my children what they need, build them a house, send them to school through university, clothe them and make sure they live happily. The same for my wife – I want to enjoy going on walks and spending time with my kids and family. I am very pleased with WINGS and everyone that is committed to family planning, and continue to assist families. God bless them."

To learn more about WINGS' family planning program, visit http://wingsguate.org/en/whatwedo/familyplanning

Evelyn (left) gives counsel to a friend
Evelyn (left) gives counsel to a friend

Evelyn, 28, began working with WINGS as a volunteer helping spread information about sexual and reproductive health to women in her village. She was so motivated and successful in reaching out to her community that WINGS soon took her on as a full time field educator. Here she speaks a little about why she remains commited to the job:

“Working with WINGS has given me the chance to really see the culture and beliefs that we have around family planning. Mainly it’s due to poor education – or none at all – about reproductive health. I’ve worked with so many families here that wanted guidance on these topics that I know the work we’re doing is important. In most communities, people don’t have access to the kinds of services WINGS can provide so it’s great that we can fill that gap. I feel really good about my work because I’ve supported families in reaching their own family planning decision by giving them information. We hope to keep counting on the support of people who make our work possible. I truly believe that this is fundamental for my country, and I will continue to work my hardest on this with WINGS.”

You can see Evelyn talk more about her experiences in our 8minute film here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=muMhxy9XBT4

 

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Organization Information

WINGS

Location: Antigua, N/A - Guatemala
Website: http:/​/​www.wingsguate.org
Project Leader:
Sally Parmelee
Development Coordinator
Antigua, Guatemala
$36,228 raised of $40,000 goal
 
 
614 donations
$3,772 to go
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