What Are the Real Threats to Security and the Future of Youth in Mexico?
By Margaret Failoni
CASA is celebrating its 35th anniversary and is rightfully proud of its service record and its impact locally, nationally, and internationally. In 1981 a group of young San Miguel de Allende residents formed CASA, a not-for-profit organization, starting with what would prove to be a successful youth-to-youth peer group approach to family planning and sex education with the town’s adolescents. This complete dedication and steadfast idealism would prove essential to CASA’s success in the years that followed.
“To Be Born and Grow up Freely”
Santa Julia 15
Col. Santa Julia
A small but efficient hospital was founded to offer poor and working class women affordable—and often free—health care. A larger CASA center was built on donated land to house a nursery school for the children of poor working mothers, as well as a library and computer center for youth and, later, the very first midwifery school. The midwifery school was founded to afford young couples in the towns and rural areas professional, humane, and caring attention when giving birth. The school was fully recognized by the government and since then, the states of Colima, Veracruz, Chiapas, Puebla, San Luís Potosi, the DF, Querétaro, and Guerrero, among others, have hired CASA midwives, accomplishing, among other things, the considerable reduction of maternal and infant deaths.
The youth of San Miguel and throughout the country have been invited to participate in this forum and have received scholarships to attend the three-day event. In addition to young people, there will be Mexican midwife students and recent graduates working with the Secretaría de Salud in Veracruz and Puebla who will give talks jointly with public health doctors on how together they are working in the government health care system to improve family planning and care for pregnant and birthing women.
A large number of the attendees of the forum are from the Guerrero Midwifery School (opened in 2012), a public school that CASA helped start, using CASA’s curriculum. The students are indigenous and speak their native language as well as Spanish, are from rural areas of extreme poverty, and a substantial number have relatives who are or were midwives.
Thanks to CASA’s work, there are now four government-accredited midwifery programs in the country: Guerrero, Chiapas, Morelos, and San Luis Potosí in the Huasteca, the poorest rural area. There is also a fifth program that CASA has been trying to help open in Mateos Romero, Oaxaca, a mainly indigenous area. The school will be run with an Ob/Gyn at the helm who has worked a great deal with traditional midwives.
At the Forum, there will also be educators from these schools, specialists such as Ob/Gyns who have held or hold high posts as directors of maternal health for the Federal Health Ministry. Employees of the Federal Health Ministry’s online campus, for teaching the government health care workers will also be participating. CASA is now a member of the Board of Directors of this online campus, and online programs the nonprofit has developed are on the government site and can be downloaded free of charge by all public health care workers in this country. Additionally, CASA has developed its own online campus and is promoting online education for all youth.
Some of the CASA midwifery school graduates now have ten years experience and have attended 2,000 births or more. They will give presentations during the forum along with obstetrical nurses from various schools throughout Mexico. Attending the forum will be youths from some of the poorest and toughest neighborhoods in Mexico City, along with local working class youths from various other socioeconomic levels. CASA anticipates a total of 500 participants. The forum will be held September 3 through 6. For further information consult: www.foro.escueladeparteras.org.mx.
As one of several means of showing CASA’s continued dedication to the country’s youths and midwives, a special forum opens in which several qualified and prestigious speakers will participate. These themes will be the discussed:
• The advances in the development of professional midwives in Mexico and new job opportunities for midwives
• The reality of pregnancies and births in Mexico, often a very violent reality
• The relationship between security, liberty, and constitutional rights
• The role a legitimate government plays in the security of its people
• The right to Internet access
• The innumerable benefits of an artistic education in primary schools
• The role of the arts and culture in political transformation