The sad situation of many poor women in Bolivia correspond to different reasons based on: 1) an ancestral culture with strong male predominance; 2) women limited to procreative roles and house care; 3) lack of interest with respect to academic and professional education of women; 4) family crisis due to lack of emotional attachment to parents that frequently leads adolescents to search intimate relationships beginning at 12 and 13 years old, without knowing anything about contraceptive methods and early pregnancies.
Many times young women suffer violence and abuse in their own families, and are forced to live in the streets dedicated to prostitution or abandoning their children to look for better options for their life. Also, with frequency, they have abortions that, considering the uncertain conditions in which they take place, cause health complications and even death.It is important to add that in Bolivia unemployed people, or in this case pregnant women or with children, don’t count with any social help from the government, nor from the biological father who has no legal or monetary responsibility.
Striving against the difficult situation of adolescents (12-18 years old) and girls that are pregnant or with newborns that were expelled from their families, or victims of rape, violence or physical abuse, the Fundacion Arco Iris created the Refuge House for their benefit.The Refuge House works in the following areas:
- It welcomes adolescents and young pregnant girls or with newborns, who don’t have any family. Through social assistance they get psychological treatment, professional preparation, and work training to become independent. The time spent by the adolescents and youths and respective sons in the shelter varies based on their social situation between few months to 2 years. The goal in each case is to help them get a home and their personal, work, and social stability.
- It has advisors offices to provide guidance; social, legal and psychological assistance to adolescents and youths who are victims of rape, psychological and/or physical abuse.
- It provides classes for adolescents in schools and homes by groups trained in different subjects such as gender, household abuse, parental planning, etc.
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