By Joanna It-zel Becerra Ibarra, written on March 9, 2014
I arrived in San Miguel de Allende eight months ago with vision and commitment to become part of CASA as Executive Director, and to join the team with the task of consolidating CASA as an organizational leader in community development. This work requires a commitment and a long term to be able to be completed according to the expectations of the post. I liked the idea of living in San Miguel de Allende for a few years, but life has many twists and turns and a few weeks ago, my husband, Miguel, surprised me with the news that he was selected to fill a position with UNICEF in the Philippines. This filled us with happiness but also with distress, as this situation then obligated me to make one of the most difficult decisions of my life: to leave CASA.
To me, CASA is an exemplary organization, committed to community development and which has endured a great deal through its history. In the context of Mexico, where 50 percent of the population is under 26 years old, and, in spite of that, youth represent an under-utilized opportunity for the present and future development of the country. Their potential as agents of successful change depends, in large part, on the circumstances in which they transition to adulthood. That is to say that these are the resources and tools, which are used by each youth to act out their own productive and reproductive roles in adult life. Regrettably, in this area there is much to do, but fortunately organizations exist that make an effort day after day to contribute to the accomplishment of this objective.
The Center for Adolescents of San Miguel de Allende (CASA A.C.) has been working for more than 30 years so that youth can have access to these resources and tools, above all to those which are fundamental for their development such as education, health — especially in sexual and reproductive health — work, and the formation of families. To have decided to leave CASA has impacted me profoundly, above all because I would like to continue contributing to the construction of a more fair Mexico and also because I really like challenges. I have also liked being part of the struggle along with CASA during the difficult times.
It was precisely here in San Miguel that the development of professional midwifery began and here that the first government accredited school in the country was established. As many of you know about CASA and its founder Nadine Goodman, we should be thankful that Mexico can have professional midwives. The road has not been an easy one, but the advances are evident, though the organizations are few that have achieved such great and important successes on political and social levels. However, development of midwifery still faces a lot of challenges: first with medical personnel, that they accept the professional midwife as a fundamental part of the multidisciplinary healthcare team, as well as at the political level so that there may be public midwifery schools, for society to demand their sexual and reproductive rights, and with students and future students of midwifery so that they are adapted to the fight.
Right now, CASA is working very hard to overcome these challenges, and to adapt to new educational forms incorporating communication technologies and ICT information, CASA is currently designing an online education system that will allow more people to study midwifery. Unfortunately, we have recently had some difficulties in our midwifery school. I understand this, I also was a student and also was funded by grants in a foreign country, and now after getting my degree and confronting work life and the real world, I am thankful for the
opportunities that I have had in my life.
Another example of a young woman who studied abroad and is grateful, Carolina Ren, a graduate of CASA’s Professional Midwifery School and who, through the following letter that she has permitted us to share with you, has further motivated us in letting us know that it’s worth it to continue fighting for this beautiful cause.
“Hello Nadine, it’s a pleasure to talk to you even if it’s in this form only,
Thanks to God we are very good here in Chiapas, already at the point of culminating six months working with the BID and Chiapas Health Secretary. We were just informed that a second contract is almost ready that would start April 1 and finish September 30, which makes us very content.
We also had the opportunity to have an interview with Dr. Edgar Kestler in Guatemala where he told us that there is an opportunity to work on the project that he directs. Gabriela Melendes of the Guatemalan Midwifery School also told us of a possible opportunity to hire a coordinator for the school and of her desire that it be one of our professional midwives. While I cannot be a candidate because the possible donor requires that it be a woman under 30 years old, Elsa and Lily have already sent their resumes and are awaiting an interview with Gaby.
Here we are for the moment, very thankful to CASA and the Azteca Foundation because if it were not for the opportunity that you all gave us, we would not be where we are now. We have grown a lot and matured as well, God willing that doors are opened so that CASA continues forming midwives and leaders.
With great appreciation, Karo”
I have full confidence that CASA’s team will know how to respond to the challenges that it has going forward; with passion, commitment, experience, and above all with the support and confidence of the people, institutions, foundations, and all the actors who collaborate with CASA in the construction of a better future for Mexico.