Christian rodriguez, Uruguay

Contact: On request

Website: https://www.ted.com/talks/christian_rodriguez_what_teen_pregnancy_looks_like_in_latin_america

a mixe flower

According to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), Latin America is the only region in the world where the number of teenage pregnancy is still increasing. Mexico has become a worldwide leader in teen pregnancy. One every two adolescents who have begun their sex life between the ages of 12 and 19 gets pregnant. Each year, more than 11,000 babies whose mothers were between 10 and 14 years old by the time of delivery are born. Girls Getting Pregnant Between the ages of 10 to 14 are an extremely vulnerable population, and they can be easy prey for men twice their age. There are many cases of violence, incest and sexual abuse perpetrated against this group.

Gloria (13) belongs to the Mixe Community of Maluco, a small village in the north of the “Itsmo de Tehuantepec”, Oaxaca. She lives with her mother and 8 of her 10 siblings, who are between 4 and 20 years old. Gloria became mother at the age of 12, consequence of the constant sexual abuse of her father who has also attacked two of her sisters, aged 8 and 16. The house where they live has only one room in which they all sleep distributed along the floor and two hammocks.

Next to their home, there is another room used as kitchen and storage, where they prepare tortillas and beans. Every day the youngest of the family – Hector (4 years old), Kevin (6 years old), Yoruidi (7 years old), Joana (9 years old) and Alvaro (11 years old) go to the village to school. Meanwhile, Gloria, Guadalupe (her 17-year-old and 6-month-pregnant sister) and her mother stay at home working in the production of “totopos”, small corn tortillas cooked in firewood oven. They start their working day at 5 am, sometimes at 2 am if they have more “totopos” to do. Firstly, the mother grinds corn, and then Gloria and her sister make and bake the “totopos”, from dawn until sunset. Gloria’s son is 10 months old and he still has no name, they just call him “bebé”. She had to leave school to work and take care of her baby.

- Christian Rodriguez