When it comes to women’s issues, the situation in Latin America is always alarming. They’re constantly facing issues of domestic violence, rape, abduction, and murder.
It’s been reported that six women are murdered each day in Mexico, and the United Nations ranks it as one of the worst countries for violence against women. When it comes to teen pregnancies, the World Health Organization states that about 16 million women 15 to 19 years old give birth each year, about 11 percent of all births worldwide. The proportion of births that take place during adolescence is about 2 percent in China, 18 percent in Latin America and the Caribbean and more than 50 percent in sub-Saharan Africa.
One of the biggest issues that women in Latin America face is unwanted pregnancies. Last month an 11 year-old girl gave birth to a baby in Paraguay after being raped by her stepfather, and this situation isn’t unusual. It’s reported that 684 girls between the ages of 10 and 14 gave birth in 2014, most of those minors were victims ofsexual abuse. WHO reports that 22 million have unsafe abortions, which results in 13 percent of maternal deaths.
Despite the Latino perception that their economic situation is the worst out of all other racial groups since the 2007 economic downturn, it’s still very apparent that Latinos provide billions of dollars to the U.S. economy and to families back home in Latin America. Is money the only way that Latinos can truly help with the real issues they face back home? The answer is a complicated yes and no. For the most part, the money being sent provides basic living necessities, but what if our resources could go toward the bigger picture instead?
While each matter of cruelty and poverty may seem overwhelming, there are organizations we can reach out to in order to be proactive about our part to curb these staggering statistics of violence and sexual trauma.
Instead of feeling hopeless about these matters we can be proactive without having to leave the country. Here's some of the great organizations that can help you get involved.
The United Nations Population Fund
Who and what they do: The United Nations Population Fund aims to helping women in developing countries have planned pregnancies, ensures every birth is safe, and that “every young person’s potential is fulfilled.”
Your part: UNPF, along with the OPEC Fund for International Development, and a local agency called Educavida, also do youth outreach in Belize, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, and St. Lucia, to help educate sex workers, students, migrants, and the gay community to be better informed about HIV prevention.
In this Facebook post, UNPF reports that: “The most excluded [include] indigenous women, young women. Many, many [have been] left behind. We have to put them at the center of the discussion.”
World Vision International
Who and what they do: Another great humanitarian organization that helps the welfare of children is World Vision International. They educate and help with healthy living conditions by working with major corporations to help facilitate funding while also counting on volunteers and donations.
Your part: On the WVI site you can pick the specific country and cause you'd like to donate to, and give whatever amount you can. There's no minimum. In the following social media post eight World Vision bloggers traveled to Guatemala to witness child sponsorship at work. One blogger reflects back on that trip and recalls a moment at the end of his visit with Monica, a former sponsored child.
Global Fund for Women
Who and what they do: The Global Fund for Women, founded by three women in California, has raised millions of dollars to advance the rights of women and girls worldwide by increasing the resources for and investing in women-led organizations and women’s collective leadership for change.
Your part: You can easily donate money directly on their site. You can also become a part of their community by staying connected with other volunteers which will keep you updated with the latest news.
International Planned Parenthood Federation
Who and what they do: The International Planned Parenthood Federation helps women in every country with healthcare, pregnancy prevention, HIV education, sexual rights education, gender equality, and much more.
Your part: You can join their campaign on the site and/or donate. In this Facebook post, IPPF is aiming to get one million signatures to present to UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon to make a difference to millions of women, men and children around the globe.
Catholic Relief Services
Who and what they do: Catholic Relief Services works in 17 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, as well as around the world. Their aim is to insure that people have access to health care and education. They also help tens of thousands of farmers improve their productivity and environmental resilience in the face of climate change, and assists communities in preparing for and responding to natural disaster.
Your part: CRS states that in order to deal with violence, social conflicts, and human trafficking they’ve launched YouthBuilders, which helps thousands of youth in Central America build vocational and life skills so they can find jobs or start small businesses. CRS has programs for people to work with them overseas, you can donate, and also stay connected and involved with their causes.