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Empowering Young Mothers in Uruguay

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By Naomi Yakawich

The dream of becoming a teacher, a chef, an office administrator, or to hold a job at all is a lofty aspiration for many young women in Uruguay who live in poverty, providing all they have to raise their infant children. According to a survey conducted by the Institute of Statistics and Census of Uruguay, there is a presence of “gradual infantilization and feminization of poverty in our nation.”

A graduate of the Global Peace Women Leadership Academy, Nancy Capelli, found a calling to help teenage mothers continue their studies or receive jobs, all while uplifting their innate value as women and mothers. Nancy believes that while having a family is a great blessing, these young women can be seen as “captive to their maternal labor,” taking care of a far greater number of children than the average number of women their age in Uruguay.

“Because their motherhood began so young, the vast majority are left out of the Education System and also the Labor System,” said Nibia Pizzo, Director of Global Peace Women in Uruguay. She added, “Since they do not have anyone to provide support to care for their children. The vast majority live alone and abandoned.”

By working with a Catholic center called “Madrinas por la Vida” (Godmothers for Life), Nancy hopes the program will motivate and provide tools so young mothers can visualize their goals and have an option of continuing studies and/or getting a job with schedules adapted to their unique situations. Approximately forty mothers are participating in the empowerment program in Montevideo.

A cycle of workshops was carried out under the management of Nancy Cappelli, who through the women’s division of Global Peace Foundation, has been working on the subject since March 2018.

In the month of June and July 2019, the first two workshops of the cycle were held again to address topics like having a vision, goal planning, building a profile and resume, job searching, and a psychological evaluation. Similar programs were conducted from August through October.

This mentorship-driven program focuses on equipping women with skills to help them live a healthy life, promote their innate value as women, and build strong values and a moral compass as the basis for them to raise a healthy family and society as well.

GPW Uruguay also expects that the program will also foster service leadership among mentors as they give their time and resources to guide younger and more vulnerable women. “The relationship between mentors and the mentored will be mutually beneficial since both will discover their own value and improve their leadership qualities,” said Director Nibia Pizzo.

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