Thursday, April 2, 2009

WEEK 8: Social Work in Mexico

I started working with Ddeser, a network for sexual and reproductive rights in Mexico, (la red por los derechos sexuales y reproductivos en Mexico) in the beginning of March. I began in correlation with other Mexican students starting their internship. Ddeser started just five years ago.

My supervisor, Nadixiel Limor (Nad) is one of the women who started the organization. She is an amazing women’s rights fighter. Every day she is reviewing the latest news on women’s rights issues in Mexico. She works closely with policy makers, looks at laws, and teaches politicians about reproductive rights. She is also a lawyer who helps women who’ve been violated. She may be called at any hour to accompany a woman to the hospital to ensure the lady’s rights are upheld.

I work closely with a young woman named Andrea Avecevedo. We both value women’s rights. We have fought for the freedom of choice although in different contexts. We give prevention talks at a high school in Temixco, Morelos every Wednesday. We teach students how to use condoms and tell them where they can get emergency contraceptive. We debunk myths comparing it to abortion. The most important is that we challenge the youth to think about their future. Teenage pregnancy is a social problem all over the world and thinking about one’s future is another example of prevention.

Andrea demonstrating how to put on a condom.

This week I met Juan Manuel Zaragoza who works with community organizing in San Anton, Cuernavaca. He talked about what it means to do social work in Mexico and participatory action research, where people come to research, participate, and give back to the community.

Zaragoza said, “There are 100,000 people who ask for information [i.e. foreigners]. They go back, turn in their thesis. What happens with all the theses that have been written?”
Many students come here to “learn” but they do not participate and return home to forget about the social problems in Mexico. I will not be the next to leave without giving something back.

I focused on not pushing my US social work values on the people but I was also afraid to make suggestions or share. I talked to my supervisor about it. She told me that I should always speak up when I have ideas. We already have very similar feminist values, and I should not worry.

Me talking to the students about emergency contraception.

One must be here to live in the problem rather than have the “fix it” attitude. In Morelos it is illegal to get an abortion. All involved will be prosecuted.

I can be a resource for women who need to get to Mexico City for abortions. I can work with others to help pregnancy/STD prevention, share expertise without pushing my own agenda, help make a change, and lastly leave something behind to give back to the organization for all that I have learned.

Me telling the Temixco high school students to "Imagine at this moment in your lives that you are pregnant. How will it change your futures?"

*Interested in learning more about Ddeser, check out the website*

--By Katie Walker

No comments:

Post a Comment