Nasly is 18 years old and studying Integral Beauty (Cosmetology) through the Teenage Mothers Extension Program at Juan Felipe Escobar Gómez Foundation (Juanfe). When Nasly gave birth to her daughter Jairis, she didn’t know how she was going to manage to financially support them both or how to be a good parent and role model for Jairis. Without any marketable skills and no money to pay for childcare while she learned a trade, Nasly and Jairis’s future looked bleak.
Then they found Juanfe, which Nasly says has changed their lives completely. Thanks to Juanfe’s Infant Development Center (CIDI), Nasly knows Jairis has a safe, loving place to go while Nasly learns a trade. The CIDI provides professional, personalized care that supports the children’s physical and psychomotor development. The staff actively communicate with mothers and teach them about infant nutrition, breastfeeding, and the importance of mother-child bonding. They also watch for signs of delayed development and take steps to provide appropriate development interventions where possible.
Before Jairis joined CIDI, she was showing early signs of aggression and poor physical development. With the help of the CIDI staff, Nasly has learned how to nurture Jairis’s development and support her emotional growth. Nasly is already seeing improvements in her daughter!
Enrolling Jairis in CIDI also allowed Nasly to fully focus on learning a trade through the Extension Program. To supplement her studies in Integral Beauty, Juanfe provides psychosocial support, to ensure Nasly and her peers develop self-esteem, a sense of responsibility, and a sense of control over their own destinies – something few of them have ever felt in their young lives. The young women also receive leadership and teamwork training and participate in activities designed to help them develop their understanding of reproductive health and personal rights (many have been abused or otherwise subjected to physical or emotional violence in their pasts).
Once Nasly graduates her course of study, Juanfe will continue to help her through job search support and other programs designed to help her and other teenage mothers join the formal workforce.
As she finishes her studies, Nasly continues to be grateful for CIDI care for Jairis. But in the future, she won’t have to worry about who will care for and provide for her daughter because she’s created her own answer. Nasly is equipping herself to build a bright future for her daughter, and Juanfe will be with them, every step of the way.
Catalina Escobar is the recipient of the 2015 World of Children Humanitarian Award and founder of Juanfe, the program behind heartwarming success stories like Nasly. To learn more about Catalina’s work visit: worldofchildren.org/catalina