In the huge, sprawling city of Sao Paolo, Brazil, a woman doing her masters thesis on teenage pregnancy discovered something hopeful. The girls she was interviewing who lived mostly on the streets (not being prostitutes, just hanging out) had been trying to get pregnant, to get the love they were missing, and once they had the child, they would make a huge effort to try to change and improve their lives.
She took that insight and created AA criança, a project to give 100 High-Risk Teen Mothers the reproductive health education, psychological support, and practical life skills to empower them to transform their lives, right at the time when they would be most receptive and motivated to change.
AA criança is not a live-in facility but an all-day program where girls aged 13-17 come in, sometimes taking 3 buses to reach the site, to take classes in prenatal care, early childhood development, health, nutrition, baby stimulation, and parenting. The girls are also helped to continue their education, take vocational training, and bring in the fathers of their children, to encourage the couple to build a healthy family.
Sao Paolo is the New York of Brazil – the largest and richest city in the southern hemisphere, with 20 million people living in the metro area. And like New York, there is tremendous income disparity in Sao Paolo, with thousands of children living on the streets and struggling to survive. AA criança (meaning child, in Portugese) gives the children of girls who are no more than children themselves a better chance to thrive. It’s one of thousands of good causes you can find on global giving an online marketplace that directly connects donors with grassroots programs in the developing world.
I’m supporting AA criança today because my friend Susanna Shapiro, who works for the Global Fund for Children in Latin America and the Caribbean raves about the organization and the work they’re doing. She even requested donations instead of a birthday present – the ultimate sacrifice in my book. So check out the causes on global giving & give a little ! (p.s. a donation to AA criança makes a great shower or baby gift for moms who already have way, way too much stuff. You know who you are.)