-Now that you know what it means, would you have expected more to have your daughter?
-No, because he taught me many things. A child is not an obstacle to your future. If before I was clear about what I wanted, now I have much more. When you have a child, you can no longer boludear.
The one who responds with a broken voice is Jennifer Araujo, a 21-year-old girl who was born in a very humble family, in the Purayuí neighborhood, in the capital of Corrientes. Sitting on the bed of the little house of material that is being built little by little, it is hard for him to talk about all the discriminations he had to go through since he had Valentina, two and a half years ago. In the neighborhood, at school, and even in his own family.
“They always told me that a son ruins your life but for me if you want and have help, you can. It's simple. I got pregnant, I finished school, I got a job, I want to study. I raised my house alone and I don't have a social plan that helps me, “says Jennifer, with tears of satisfaction in her eyes.
With much effort, he ended up being an escort, has a blank job and goes out of his way to give his daughter a worthy present. She is one of the many teenage mothers from vulnerable contexts who break with the prejudice that 46% of Argentines have, which is to believe that the poor tend to have more children to collect the plans, according to a national survey by the consulting firm Voices! of this year.
The official figures of the Anses on what is the profile of the beneficiaries of the Universal Assignment for Child (AUH) also deny this belief. The average number of children is 1.7 (more than half have only one child) and 47.4% of women work.
Thanks to the support of his family, some teachers and the Argentine Crusade Foundation, he was able to achieve each of the objectives he had set. Its history of struggle integrates the fourth installment of Invisible Networks, a LA NACION project that aims to demonstrate how prejudices limit the future possibilities of young people from more vulnerable contexts and deepen their exclusion situation. And that also when people and organizations appear give them the opportunities they deserve and accompany them, these children manage to break the circle of poverty.
Jennifer's early motherhood was catapulted to maturity without scales. Since Valentina was born, she began to store all the coins she got in a five-liter bottle of mineral water. “I try to save as much as possible because the coins are always lost or thrown away. And I know that this later transforms into bills. I use it for any emergency,” Jennifer tells about her survival strategies, shivering with cold because it's winter And she has no jacket. “With the next salary I am going to buy one. The important thing is that Valen has his own,” he says.
She is no longer alone. Now he has a life in his hands. And that implies sacrifices. “What I see is that teenage mothers become more responsible, because they know that if they do not receive and have a title, who will take care of that child? And they prioritize finishing high school in order to get ahead,” he says Martín Temporeti, one of the teachers who accompanied her most during her pregnancy.
From being a teenage mother to end up being an escort and having a blank job
Valentina is two and a half years old and is a whirlwind of energy. With his fuxsia pullover and two white pom pom tails in his hair, he demands permanent attention. Jennifer does not lose her patience and at times interrupts the recording to play with her for a while, prepare her bottle or change her diapers.
Jennifer was born in a very poor context. When she was a little girl she had to face the stigma of being part of a family of “carriages” (her father and her brothers work distributing construction materials with a car pulled by a horse) and that her father entered and left the prison for different Causes. For this reason, his granddaughter's birth was lost. Since March 29 of this year he is in prison because he had a fight with the neighbors.
“We are careers and they always accuse us of the things that happen here,” says Jennifer anguished. She is the eldest of four siblings whose parents always taught them value for study and work. His father did not finish primary school and he hardly knows how to read and write, but he was the one who, every afternoon when they returned from school, sat down to do their homework. “He knows the basics but he was controlling us to see if we had done it well,” recalls Jennifer excitedly, while her daughter is playing with her glasses. He sits her in a pink plastic chair and they start preparing a fantasy picnic together.
Raquel Bruzzo, her mother, is the one who always crushed her children about the importance of studying. She was able to finish high school and made the attempt to study to be an accountant in Chaco. But she could not continue due to lack of resources and dedicated herself to being domestic in order to feed her children. “When she told me that she was pregnant, it was a cold water sketch, but little by little we accepted it. She was afraid that she would leave school and join her partner. Or she would go to work as a maid. But she managed quite well and He always kept fighting her, “says Raquel. For Jennifer, her mother is the strongest pillar in her life. “It was always unconditional support. My mom is everything,” Jennifer.
Their reality is that of many girls who become pregnant during adolescence and have to face that challenge. Jennifer was a good student, played soccer and was always a leader in her groups of friends. “Three years ago I was in a football match in front of the goal and I threw up everything. There I realized I was pregnant. How could I not hit the ball?” Jennifer says, laughing.
He was a girlfriend a few months ago and had decided not to take care of himself. “Let it be what God wants,” they said with their partner. The same pregnancy took her by surprise. His life skipped a beat. At first everything was fear and uncertainty. “It was very difficult to be a young mother because there were many obstacles and discrimination. I had a fatal fear of not knowing what to do, how to take care of her. It is a lot of responsibility and you have to feel like it. The most difficult thing is to try not to miss anything,” he summarizes Jennifer.
That is why the accompaniment of her best friend, soccer partner and godmother of Valentina, Yamila Fut, stands out. “She is a very challenging person, she likes women and she suffered a lot of discrimination because of that. I was during her entire process of change and she was in mine. It was not like with other classmates who said they were my friends and then they left me sideways, “says Jennifer.
He started the last year of school about to give birth. Valentina was born premature in April and had to be hospitalized for a month. Jennifer was all that time without going to school, but professors María Eugenia Fleitas and Martín Temporeti helped her get the notes and homework so she wouldn't be late. “She was afraid of the moment she had the baby, if she was going to be able to stay in school. While she could not come, she removed the material at school and did it at home,” says Fleitas.
At school – beyond an altercation with one of the preceptors – all her classmates and teachers helped her taking care of or hammock Valentina while she was not sleeping. “It was a bit difficult to study but it wasn't that difficult because she was very calm. Since she was more restless at home, I came to school early to be able to move forward with homework,” Jennifer recalls.
One day she missed school, members of the Argentine Crusade Foundation – who implement the methodology of the Forge Foundation in Corrientes and Chaco – went to tell senior students about their training program aimed at young people like them Enter the formal labor market.
Jennifer learned that some classmates had started the course and did not want to miss that opportunity. The next day he showed up with his two-month-old daughter and sister to the foundation to ask for a quota. “He said he wanted to be part of the program and that he had come with the sister to take care of the creature so he could start that day. He almost did not miss the rain, the heat, the bus stop and much less for the school, “recalls Marcelo Velázquez, executive director of the Argentine Crusade Foundation, about his enormous willpower.
Her tutor and the person who did the melee follow-up until she got the job in Mustard eight months ago was Erika Fogar. Today Jennifer works from Monday to Friday from 18 until the closing of the premises, while Valentina is in the care of her grandmother. His salary is around $ 7,000 per month but he is taking advantage to make the most overtime to finish his house. He has a social work and charges $ 2,500 of family allowance.
“Here it is always repeated that nobody wants to work and I assure you that if you lower your prejudices a little you will find a lot of young people wanting to work, responsible, who need work and with whom you can form a formidable team. objectives, dreams to be achieved and they will be committed to any place that allows them to achieve those dreams, “Erika says convinced.
At this moment Jennifer is separated from Franco, Valentina's father, and lives in her parents' house. Every morning he dedicates them to clean and continue equipping his own house that is five blocks away. For now it only has the room, the furniture and an electric oven. The next dream is to be able to finish the bathroom.
“The salary is barely enough to support the baby. Dad doesn't help me because he doesn't have a job. I took out a loan at ANSES to buy the bricks and the floor. The urgent thing is to have the bathroom, then the kitchen will continue and the dining room, “says Jennifer enthusiastically.
When your daughter is older, she would like to try to study law to defend people who have less access to justice. “It's a very expensive resource. Now, for example, we don't have money to pay a good lawyer to get my dad out of jail,” he says.
Jennifer knows that without the network of people who helped her, she wouldn't have gotten that far. “Sometimes you say,” I can't alone. “If you don't have support, it's like it costs you more. But you need someone to help you and give you a little push. Tell you:” Try it, “she says excitedly.
All he does is to educate his daughter by example and to give him everything he needs. “She is going to be very strong. And I want to let her teach that even if you have a lot of people against it, you can get ahead. And if you study, it can be someone,” Jennifer concludes.
JOIN INVISIBLE NETWORKS
Get close to the Forge Foundation and be part of other young people like Jennifer can get a quality job. You can do it by contributing money or joining your network of companies that hire young graduates of the program.
Contact: + 54911-3040-4936
A HOUSE FOR JENNIFER
If you want to help Jennifer finish her house and her bathroom, you can contact Marcelo Velázquez, director of Fundación Cruzada Argentina at + 549362-483-9881 or by mail at