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Victims of poverty, abuse and addictions in Argentina: continue being a mother when everything is against


Organizations in the country try to rehabilitate young women victims of poverty, abuse and addictions who are unable to take care of their children and prevent them from losing custody by strengthening the bond between mothers and children

A short time ago, Marina Peralta began to kiss her two-year-old son Dylan.

It was also very recently that the boy began to smile and have the physical strength to run through the patio of his provisional home in Quimilí, in the province of Santiago del Estero, in the forgotten north of Argentina, about 1,000 kilometers from Buenos Aires. .

The little one recovers when the parent feels better, when she is empowered, when she learns.

Soledad Scheurer, founder of Dignamente

“When I met him, he was the size of a stuffed animal,” recalls Rosa Pérez, social worker and coordinator of Fundación Dignamente, a center that cares for children at risk and educates families so that they can take care of them responsibly.

“His face did not express anything, if he was happy or sad.

The mother did not know anything about anything, she did not give him a kiss.

Now we see the love with which he treats him, Dylan began to walk, smile and eat well, "adds Pérez.

Peralta, 22, and her son joined this organization 18 months ago.

The child was malnourished and the mother clearly needed help.

“Dylan weighed little and got sick, he was very little.

They told me: 'if you don't insert the tube [to feed him] he's going to die.'

We lived in an area that was cold, hungry...", says the mother.

Before Peralta's admission, the organization Dignamente, directed by Soledad Scheuer and Heriberto Roccia, worked on the prevention, treatment and recovery of children at nutritional risk and exposed to other risks, but on an outpatient basis.

The case of Marina and Dylan accelerated the opening of a house within the foundation, where mothers in a critical situation can live for a while with their children under the age of three while they receive care and training: from hygiene and nutrition to therapy to foster affection.

Since then this young woman has learned to take care of her son, but also to read and lives with other mothers who have experienced similar circumstances.

In Argentina there are no special state mechanisms to guide women at risk who have just become mothers and the State provides financial support to organizations such as Dignamente, which assumes this commitment before the authorities.

Children and parents learn to read and write with one of the tutors of Fundación Dignamente, in Quimilí, Argentina.Ramiro Pereyra

Caring for mothers to care for children

Four out of 10 Argentines are currently poor, according to an independent study by the Social Debt Observatory of the Argentine Catholic University.

With dignity, it was born with the idea of ​​contributing its grain of sand to the fight against child malnutrition, but its founders realized that the key to the well-being of children lay above all in the support and training of mothers punished for abuse. , abuses and structural poverty transmitted from generation to generation.

Scheurer reports that some women who suffered abuse consider this aberrational practice natural and maintain habits rooted in environments of poverty and little education.

“Some give mate cocido [infusion with yerba mate] instead of milk to the newborn child because that's how they did it to them and they tell you: 'my mom did it like that and my grandmother did too.

Why do they come to change me?'”, explains the person in charge.

Daniela Figueroa, 23, with her youngest daughter in her arms, outside the Quimilí Foundation in Argentina.Ramiro Pereyra

Daniela Figueroa, 23, dropped out of school at 15, when she gave birth for the first time.

Before arriving at Dignamente, she lived poorly in a precarious room with her daughters, Luciana and Macarena.

Luciana, one year old, arrived at the center malnourished because Daniela did not know how to feed her.

Macarena, aged two, manifested delays in psychomotor development and did not speak "due to the lack of interaction with her mother," according to those responsible for the foundation.

“We had to educate her in the maternal role and manage negative emotions.

She had to learn to bond with her daughters, feed and bathe them."

adds Roccia.

Dylan was the size of a stuffed animal when I met him.

His face did not express anything, if he was happy or sad

Rosa Pérez, social worker and coordinator of the Dignamente center and house

The institution focuses its work on healing the child by educating the adult and without breaking the bond between them.

“It is useless to work alone with the children if we do not do it with the house and with the environment.

The mother is decisive for the child.

The little one recovers when the parent feels better, when she empowers herself, when she learns, ”says Scheurer.

“Mothers learn to bathe their child.

They never had.

They are learning to give them love, to make them play.

Some never told their son that they love him”, corroborates Natalia Carrizo, educator at Dignamente.

Maternity and drug use

In central Argentina, in the province of Córdoba, the Virgen de Lourdes farm linked to Hogar de Cristo also receives mothers and children and focuses on the mother overcoming her addictions.

In total, there are 20 beds, a patio and an orchard that provides lodging, food, therapeutic and spiritual assistance, and maternity workshops.

It is one of the few Argentine institutions that welcomes consumer mothers and their children.

Flavia Angiono, coordinator of the farm, explains that addictions lead to great deterioration: when using drugs, the notion of time is lost and the children are left in the care of others, sometimes their older brothers who are not even 10 years old. .

In addition, drug-using mothers wait until they can no longer go to a center because they fear that they will be separated from their little ones.

As in Fundación Dignamente, the challenge of this farm is to reach these women before justice intervenes and takes custody of them.

Gisela Álvarez (fictitious name), 19, traveled from Buenos Aires to Córdoba with her one-year-old son, to enter the farm last October.

She is just adjusting, but she says that maternity workshops help her.

“I can do things that I couldn't before: enjoy my son, wake up and see his smile.

Now I'm discovering everything he does.

It is wonderful to see how he learns, ”she says.

The young mothers of Hogar de Cristo share breakfast with the farm coordinators.

One of the objectives of the space is to recover the habits of a family and dialogue.RAMIRO PEREYRA

The psychologist Florencia Russo, coordinator of the workshop, insists that these are women injured by very painful circumstances and the intention is not to put them on the bench but to give them appropriate tools, work with them on their rights and show great understanding.

“Maternity and consumption are very frowned upon at a social level.

They are judged more than men”, explains the psychologist, underlining the great guilt that invades mothers.

“Society says you have to be a good mother.

By contextualizing, they are made to see that they have made bad decisions, but that they are looking for a change and that is valuable ”, she concludes.

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Source: elparis

All news articles on 2023-01-23

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