Young Mother’s Empowerment Center (EMJ)
Began in 2013 | El Alto, Bolivia
La Paz has the highest rate of adolescent pregnancies in Bolivia and many young mothers are poverty-stricken and do not complete primary education. Dra. Cecilia Uribe de Chavez, pediatrician and CFHI La Paz Medical Director, responded to an unfortunate trend amongst young women with children who are unable to escape the poverty trap, by creating a safe haven for these young mothers, many of whom are uneducated and victims of psychological and physical abuse. This soon became a place of hope where education, vocational training, and health and child care are accessible free of charge.
Together with CFHI, the Center for Empowerment of Young Mothers-El Centro de Apoyo al Empoderamiento de Madres Jovenes (EMJ)-opened its doors in late 2013. The EMJ Center seeks to empower young mothers to continue pursuing their life goals and to avoid becoming trapped by the vicious cycle of poverty. It enables the women to utilize effective resources and existing relationships within the community to seek out the services they require. All of the mothers attending the center are working and/or studying while their children are being cared for and are committed to using contraceptives. Their children are in a safe environment and are able to build social skills and to grow emotionally and physically.
6 mothers and 10 childrens are actively benefiting from the services and support offered through the center. Two mothers serve as care takers for the children in the center, so there is time for work and study. A weekly meeting is held for all the women that serves as a support group and devotes time to speak about important topics. As an increasing number of women grasp the importance of empowerment, this number continues to grow.