n Mexico City, the third largest metropolitan area in the world, with a population of more than 22 million, the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) is providing hope to a small group of adolescent mothers and children.
ADRA-Mexico recently opened a training center in the San Rafael community of Mexico City that will be used to teach young mothers the sewing trade. Learning this skill will help these mothers to better financially support their children.
“Our primary objective is to bring some hope to young women who have been kicked out of their homes because of sexual abuse, pregnancy, or because they come from difficult situations in their homes and have been literally left out on the streets, abandoned,” says Rafael Garcia, ADRA-Mexico director.
The idea for the project took shape as members of the Seventh-day Adventist church in Portales began visiting La Casa de las Mercedes (the Home of Mercedes), a private assistance institution that has offered shelter, food, and care to young homeless pregnant women for more than 10 years. The facility currently houses 82 young mothers and their children.
Miguel Angel Giron, pastor of the Portales church, together with church members, at first collected food items for La Casa de las Mercedes residents. They soon recognized, however, the greater need of helping to empower the young women to move beyond their current situation and offer a future to their children. They contacted the ADRA office and asked them to take on the project.
“We began the project in July of this year,” says Garcia, “and were able to install the electrical wiring for their training center and equip it with all the needed supplies to get them started with eight sewing machines, tables, blackboard, fabric, and all the sewing tools they will need.
“ADRA is so pleased to help these women,” he added. “It will be a sort of occupational therapy for them and bring them opportunity to acquire skills and provide a better life for themselves and their children. They will eventually sell the clothes.”
Wallace Amundson, ADRA director for Inter-America, attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new facility and says there are several such projects throughout the Inter-America Adventist church region, which are helping mothers and their children.
Garcia says the group plans to establish a children’s clothing line with the brand name MAMA, a Spanish acronym that in English means Adolescent Mothers Looking Up.