(Left to right) Angie, 17, with her son Samuel, 11 months, Alejandra, 15, with her son Juan José, 3 months, and Dominica wait for class to begin. The girls are studying computer systems in the hopes of having some professional skills to find work.
A neighborhood in Bello, a town of 359,000 people to the north of Medellín where Angie, Alejandra and Dominica live.
An article in the national newspaper El Tiempo from Sunday, February 21st 2016. The title asks "When Should Sexual Education Begin? Despite objections from the Attorney General, experts defend this course for children from the first years. It would avoid abuse and adolescent pregnancies."
Two girls, one of them pregnant, spend an afternoon with friends in the city center of Medellín. Pregnant or baby-toting teenagers is a common sight in the busy metropolis.
A street in Bello, Antioquia.
Shirley, 16, and her son Alejandro, 2, listen to the director of a local community foundation. She has come to ask for money to buy Alejandro's baptism outfit which costs 250,000 pesos ($79). She doesn't have the money to pay for the outfit, which is eight times the amount of her monthly rent, but Alejandro cannot be baptized without it. If she doesn't baptize him the government will take him away and put him up for adoption.
Shirley and her sister Angie used to live with their mother and her boyfriend in Bello. The boyfriend started to sexually assault the girls and when Shirley became pregnant with his child the mother kicked them out to live on the street. Both are mothers now and live with an aunt in Bello.
Angie, Shirley's sister, with her son Samuel, 11 months. Neither of the girls have steady work and rely on family and the aid of a private philanthropist to keep them off the streets.
Samuel cries as his diaper is changed.
A sign at a bus stop in Bogotá reads: "A Bogotá that prevents an adolescent pregnancy is a better Bogotá for everyone."
A shop of children's clothing in downtown Medellín.
Andrea, 22, in Bello. At the age of 15 she decided to get pregnant with her boyfriend, at the time 31. After she lost the first child they tried again and at 16 she gave birth to her daughter, Sofía. She had uterine complications and was confined to bed rest for three months in the hospital, during which time she did not speak with either of her parents. A couple of years after Sofía's birth Andrea and her boyfriend separated.
Sofía is now six and lives with her father, an hour bus ride away from Bello. Andrea can only afford to visit once a month. When asked why she wanted to have a child she responded "I always felt alone, and I thought with a baby I wouldn't."
Children play at a community center in Bello.
A mother rests on the metro in Medellín.
Maria, 28, with her son Abraham, 9 months. Maria did not plan on having a child, and at first the news was the end of her world, but now she calls him "the love her of life." She had to sacrifice dreams of work and travel, but she says wouldn't go back and change a thing.
Though she is no longer with Abraham's father the two get along well and contribute equally and enthusiastically to his upbringing. Though the birth of her child has drastically changed her life and future plans, Maria says that motherhood is the most wonderful thing that can happen to a woman: "You become more beautiful, you understand more, you have created a life."
prev / next
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17
· · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · ·