Alas "Wings" Program
Why Liga MAC conducts a Sexuality Seminar?
Because Mexico is at the top of the chart of teen pregnancy amongst the OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development) countries. (oecd-mexico-ranks-first-teen-pregnancy)
Poverty, low education, lack of opportunities, inequality, domestic violence and exclusion are some of the causes of teen pregnancy. Los Cabos area is not the exception to the rule, Dr. Erika Yañez, Head of the Reproductive Health Program from the San Jose del Cabo Health Department reported that 64 pregnant teenagers were registered in their program during the first quarter of 2018.
Liga MAC has been doing its part to fight this problem, by conducting every year a workshop named “Alas” (Wings), addressed to junior-high school female students enrolled in the scholarship program.
How we do it? We call our scholars by sending an invitation in writing through the social worker of their schools. We also send a letter to their parents explaining the content of the seminar and the importance of their daughter’s participation on it. That way, we put together a group of 25 young ladies for the seminar. The seminar was hosted at the premises of a local high-school. It consisted of five Saturday morning sessions in April and May, 2018.
To better respond to this issue, considered by the authorities as a matter of public relevance, the 2018 edition of Alas was improved. The content of the seminar was adjusted to go deeper into the subject matters of gender equality, domestic violence and pregnancy prevention.
With the help of Psychologist Heddy Villaseñor, a Mexican licensed professional in the field, Liga MAC spent three sessions to educate our scholars in this topic. Villaseñor worked with the girls to help them understand the importance of discarding taboos that make us believe that women are less worthy, and that sexuality matters are improper; therefore, not to be discussed. Much to the contrary, the girls were told that being educated and empowered is of a paramount importance to ensure a better future.
The subject matters reviewed in the seminar had a culminating point at discussing the importance of having a life project. For the closing session, the group of young ladies were taken to a field trip to Costco, for them to learn the importance of having an education and personal dreams to climb up in the corporate ladder.
“I learned a lot of things (in Alas) … women are not objects, we are valuable, have rights and deserve to be respected and loved” (Isis – 14 years old).
Eleven years ago the Alas program was created with the mission of preventing school-dropout and teen pregnancy, addressed to 12 – 15-year-old girls involved in ACE, Liga MAC’s stay-in-school program. Alas, which means wings in Spanish, offers a series of five interactive sessions designed to provide the girls encouragement and confidence to spread their “wings.” The workshop includes a field trip to a local store for the girls to learn the way of the corporate ladder, and a sexuality seminar facilitated by an experience profesional psychotherapist.