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Evelin, a young mother coming out of her shell

According to Ecuador`s latest census, 44 percent of women had their first child between the ages of 15 and 19. For many of these women, becoming mothers also signified the end of their formal education. However, with the help of ChildFund, women in Ecuador are beginning to learn and share important information about raising children, eating healthy diets and making an income. Here are the words of Evelin, a young mother from Ecuador, whose life has changed due to participation in ChildFund`s Early Childhood Development programs.

My name is Evelin. I am 20 years old, and I have two beautiful daughters who are my reason for living. Naomi is 4, and Emily is 3 years old.

When I was 16 years old, I fell pregnant, so my husband Segundo and I decided to move and begin our lives as a family. He is 32 years old, and he works as a day labourer at a farm close to our house in Imbabura Province.

With the arrival of my little girls, my life completely changed. I had to leave my studies and assume my new responsibilities in the home with my girls and husband.

One day while I was in the community store, I met a neighbour who told me that she was participating in a ChildFund-operated workshop for local mothers with children under the age of 5. She told me that it was a wonderful experience as she was able to learn about of variety of new things €“ such as nutrition and how to stimulate her children`s learning.

I thought this sounded very interesting and decided to approach my husband to ask for his approval of my participation in the training. At first, he said no, but I argued that this could be a good opportunity for me to learn new things that would help me to keep my family healthy. I would also be able to share the experience with other young mothers and not feel so lonely at home, so he agreed.

When I began participating in ChildFund`s Early Childhood Development program, the trainer mother introduced me to the rest of the group, and ever since then I have felt comfortable and enjoyed the meetings very much. Despite my home chores, I always did my best to not miss any classes of the 10-month course.

During this time, I realised that I had been doing some things the wrong way. I had a bad temper, I was often rude to my daughters and husband, and I was not sociable because I spent all day at home. I had become isolated from the rest of the community and I was also afraid to speak in public. I was very shy.

Since participating in the program, a lot of things have changed. I learned how to prepare healthy and nutritious food for my family. Since starting our family garden, I have been contributing to the family livelihood because I save money by not buying vegetables and fruits in the market. I am more sociable now too, and I am more involved and interested in the community. My older daughter goes to the community`s child care centre, and I was designated president. Now I feel valued and self-confident, and I know that if I express what I feel, people will listen to me.

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