Skills training for young moms in Colombia

Funding required: $89,900

This project will help: 251 young moms from 21 Compassion centres

Estimated completion date: December 2022

Country: Colombia

Executive summary

Girls growing up in poverty are far more likely to become pregnant at an early age, often dropping out of school to care for their children. Early pregnancy not only prohibits girls from finishing their education and getting decent jobs, but also interrupts their cognitive and emotional development at a critical juncture. For these reasons and more, the World Health Organization has classified teen pregnancy as a public health problem.

In Colombia, early maternity among girls—some as young as 13 or 14—has been recognized by the state as a problem requiring imminent intervention. A national survey indicated that anywhere between 20 and 45 per cent of teenage parents permanently drop out of school to work at low-paying, unskilled jobs, repeating the cycle of poverty of their own caregivers. These young, immature couples are often not equipped for the challenges of parenthood and are prone to domestic violence and substance abuse. Many fathers abandon their families, leaving young moms alone to fend for themselves.

Compassion Colombia works in some of the country’s most vulnerable communities, where teen pregnancies are common. In 2019, Compassion conducted its own survey among beneficiaries to analyze the extent of the problem and create strategies to address it. This survey found that 251 young moms between the ages of 13 and 21 were identified as being particularly vulnerable and in need of help. Some of these young women have been physically or sexually abused. Others have a history of drug and alcohol abuse, and some have also experienced severe postpartum depression and suicidal thoughts.

Education is key to releasing children and youth from poverty. Our partners want to help these precious young women recover their sense of worth and value and build a better future for themselves and their children. By offering moms a 12-month certified training program in various disciplines, including haircutting and cosmetology, pastry making, jewelry making and leather crafts, as well as training in business and finance, moms will have a chance at getting decent jobs so they can support their families. Moms will receive health care and attend parenting classes, where they’ll learn how to take care of their little ones and support their development. They will also be provided with psychological care and spiritual support, so they can find true healing and freedom in God’s love.

Did you know?

National research in Colombia indicates that between 2008 and 2014, more than 1 million children were born to mothers between the ages of 10 and 19.

Summary

Background

Teenage pregnancy is a common problem in Colombia. In fact, the national government has implemented various campaigns and strategies aimed at reducing early maternity in girls under the age of 19. With some girls getting pregnant at as young as 10 years old, teen maternity has severe social and economic repercussions. Girls who have children in their teenage years often end up dropping out of school for good. This prevents them from getting decent jobs, as well as deeply impacting their self-esteem and sense of worth. Young couples who lack the maturity and readiness to raise children are prone to domestic violence and other destructive behaviours like substance abuse. Young girls who are abandoned by their partners are left to fend for themselves and are highly vulnerable to abuse and exploitation. Education and skills training can help young women living in poverty to move forward, but the cost is beyond what they can afford. Without access to professional resources, these young women will end up raising their children in poverty, perpetuating the cycle for another generation.

The need

Compassion’s church partners across Colombia are dedicated to releasing communities from poverty in Jesus’ name. Young teen moms and their children are among the most vulnerable. Getting pregnant at an early age prevents girls from completing their education and getting decent jobs. Many of them are abused or abandoned by their partners, and struggle with depression, suicidal ideation and very low self-esteem.

You can help 251 young moms in Colombia attend 12 months of professional skills training in various fields, including leather goods, hair styling and cosmetology, jewelry making and decorating. They’ll learn about financial management, marketing and business development. After completing training, they’ll receive a certificate and seed capital to start their own businesses. Girls will also receive psychological support as they prepare for birth and parenthood. A team of dedicated pastors and centre tutors will offer spiritual and practical support every step of the way.

With your support, 251 young women will have the chance to turn their lives around. By learning new skills, they can become financially autonomous and provide a more stable environment for their children. Most important, they will learn that they are loved by a God who can redeem every situation, no matter how hopeless.

What your gift will do

Your generosity will provide interdisciplinary support for 251 adolescent mothers in three phases:

  • Phase one: training and psycho-social and spiritual support
    • Hiring of interdisciplinary team
    • Psychological support for 232 young women and their families, including:
      • Awareness workshops for caregivers of young moms
      • Family integration workshop
      • Distribution of resources to pregnant moms from the Survival curriculum
  • Phase two: training in finance and income-generation skills
    • Four workshops in productive tools and ideas, self-financing and self-support, basic accounting and marketing
  • Phase three: Acquisition of income-generation skills
    • Professional skills training in cooperation with public technical institutions, in beauty (hair cutting and styling, manicures/pedicures and cosmetology; jewelry making; leather crafts and decoration
    • Workshop supplies and materials
    • Seed capital for starting small businesses
    • Business fair
    • Administrative expenses
    • Monitoring

Logistics

  • Local contribution: US$8,712.80
  • Handling of funds: Compassion Colombia will ensure this intervention remains within budget.
  • Monitoring and follow-up: A program implementer will be hired to monitor the intervention and track each student’s progress.
80%

No less than 80 per cent of your donation will be used for program activities and a maximum of 20 per cent for fundraising and administration. If we exceed our funding goal for the initiative shown, the remaining funds will be used to fund other programs where the need is greatest.