Transforming Lives … One Generation At A Time!
When we first came to this remote rural valley in 1977, the parents of the children in these photographs were young children themselves, born into large illiterate families where most youngsters did not study beyond the first grades of primary school. Young women were generally illiterate and began giving birth every other year or so, starting at the age of fourteen or fifteen. Maternal and infant mortality were a fact of life, and a surviving mother often had eight or more children by the time she was in her thirties, with several miscarriages and infant deaths along the way.
The family norm in the valley is now two or three children. Every woman and every family is offered the option to space and limit their children, and the great majority do so. Teenage girls pursue their studies first, and usually become pregnant in their twenties, not in their teens. The three photographs above show what this can look like over the span of a generation. We have known most of our students since they were little children. In the time that we have lived and worked here, an older traditional campesino generation has largely passed away, and several younger generational waves have grown up, begun to have their own children, and assume leadership roles in the community. Just twenty years ago, young girls the age of Rosa Maria and Heidi in the second two photos might well already be pregnant. Nowadays, this would be unusual, and education is the priority.
Investing in Human Capital FIRST and ALWAYS!
Drawing on our experience of over thirty-five years living and working in this remote road-less valley, we have developed our Recipe for a Thriving Community
, investing directly in people in three progressive steps which benefit high-fertility, low-income populations in the ways that they themselves desire
Stabilize the Family with Family Planning Services and Reproductive Health Education - watch how quickly families respond!
Focus on Education, especially for girls and young women. Student scholarships, teacher development, public school support.
Develop Community -- bring people together to work for realistic, popular goals.
But Progress takes more than a Plan. It takes Time.
It takes steady Commitment over Generations.
We have learned over many years that there are no short cuts, that genuine change is incremental. But the cumulative effect over time -- even in the course of one generation -- has been dramatic. There has been notable and enduring social progress.
Without Foundation supporters like you, this would not have been possible!
Please continue to help us
transform lives in this remote, impoverished area of Venezuela. We have a tested Strategy
and working Methodology
that we can scale up and replicate with your support. It’s just a matter of funding.
Think global, act local – and the world DOES change. We are living proof!