WINGS’ founder, Sue Patterson, recently visited the home of Mariela, a former WINGS beneficiary who chose to have a tubal ligation a few years ago. Here is what Sue learned about Mariela during her visit:
Together with her two daughters aged 7 and 9, Mariela lives in a house made out of cornstalks and cardboard, which is precariously placed on a muddy mountainside. Her house was severely damaged during tropical storm Agatha last May, but has since been rebuilt with more cornstalks and cardboard. Mariela and her mother make and sell stuffed peppers, earning between the two of them about $6 dollars a day. Given the adversity she faces, when Mariela lost her third child to meningitis four years ago she decided to have a tubal ligation. While her family opposed the operation, Mariela decided for herself that she did not want to have any more children and went ahead with the procedure. Not having to care for any more young children has been very liberating for Mariela, who is currently enrolled in night school where she is studying the 7th grade. She now has aspirations to become a psychologist, so she can help others who have gone through difficult times. While Mariela’s situation is still precarious, she is now able to focus on improving the situation for herself and her two surviving daughters.
As the story of Mariela highlights, the opportunity to limit one’s family size can change the course of entire families, enabling them to direct precious and scare resources to improve their lives and that of their existing children. Thanks to your generous support, more families in Guatemala will have access to essential family planning services that make a real difference in their lives.
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